A Brooklyn police officer accused of sodomizing a handcuffed suspect denied any wrongdoing during testimony in his own defense Thursday.
Officer Richard Kern, a baby-faced 26-year-old whose gray suit hung on his slender frame, said he never used his retractable police baton to sodomize Michael Mineo.
Kern did admit to having the baton, also called an asp, in his hand while chasing Mineo but insisted he never opened the weapon.
"Did you at any time shove, force or ram your asp into Mr. Mineo's rear end?" asked defense attorney John Patten.
"No, I did not," said Kern, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Kern said he had taken out the asp while chasing Mineo into the Prospect Park subway station, "Just for my safety. I had it out but not open."
Under cross examination, prosecutor Charles Guria questioned why Kern used the closed asp to pin down Mineo's flailing legs when the open weapon is much bigger.
Kern is one of three police officers on trial for their Oct. 15, 2008, encounter with Mineo, a former tattoo parlor worker and admitted Crip gang member. Spotted smoking a marijuana cigar, Mineo ran from officers into the subway station where he says one of them shoved a metal object into him.
Two other officers, Kern's partner Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz are charged with covering up the alleged incident, in part by giving Mineo a summons that October afternoon instead of arresting him.
Kern testified that he let Mineo go with a summons for disorderly conduct, partly because a police lieutenant in the past had instructed anti-crime officers like Kern, assigned to serious felonies, not to make marijuana arrests.
Kern also said he did not believe Mineo was injured or needed an ambulance, despite initially thinking that he may be emotionally disturbed because he was yelling. Kern said Mineo "did a 180" and calmed down when told he may get a summons instead of being arrested.
"I determined he was saying all that so he wouldn't get arrested," Kern said. "It was merely an act, I'd say."
Kern said he didn't hear Mineo accuse the officers of shoving something into his rear end, contradicting testimony from other witnesses.
Mineo, wearing oversized glasses and a newly shaved head, slipped into the courtroom's back row to listen to Kern.
"It was a bunch of lies," Mineo said out in the hallway, flanked by two lawyers handling his $44O million civil suit.
Kern's partner, Andrew Morales, also took the stand, beginning by talking about both his father and brother being on the police force.
Morales, 28, also testified that he never heard Mineo complain about being sodomized.
"I would remember it," he testified.
But Morales, a cop since 2003, said he did hear Mineo yell, "I can't go back to jail, I'm out on bail. Why did you guys kick me?"
Mineo had an outstanding warrant for missing an earlier court appearance and Morales testified that suspects with open warrants are supposed to be arrested -- not given a summons.
However Morales said that when he ran a computer check on Mineo, no warrant came up.
Alex Cruz, a second officer accused in the alleged cover-up did not testify. Closings in the case are set for Tuesday.