A Brooklyn police officer testified Monday in a police-brutality trial that he saw a colleague jab a retractable baton between alleged victim, Michael Mineo's, buttocks.
Testifying in a Brooklyn court today, officer Kevin Maloney said he saw Officer Richard Kern place the button on Mineo's buttocks.
"I saw it move from left to right," he testified. "Yes, there was pressure being applied," the officer said.
Three NYPD officers are on trial for their October 15, 2008 encounter with Mineo, a former tattoo parlor receptionist and admitted Crips gang member. Officer Richard Kern, faces the most serious charges of aggravated sexual abuse and assault. Two others, officers Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales are accused of covering up the incident. All have pleaded not guilty.
During today's testimony, when asked if Mineo was handcuffed at the time of the alleged incident, he answered "yes, he was."
Continuing, Maloney testified he heard Mineo say "Why did you stick that walkie-talkie up my ass?"
Lawyers defending three police officers have portrayed the accuser as a scammer who made up the story to get money from the city. Mineo has filed a $440 million lawsuit against the city.
In opening statements last month, defense lawyer John Patton said Mineo was not sodomized by a police baton and there was no evidence to prove Mineo's statements that he was attacked with it in 2008.
"Once you've seen Mr. Mineo, you'll find him a theatrical, posing type of individual who's going to make a claim," said Patton, who represents Officer Richard Kern.
Despite the seriousness of the charges, the case has not brought public outcry like other instances of alleged police abuse. A few officers and Patrick Lynch, head of the patrolman's union, have appeared in court but there have been no protests or demonstrations outside.
It was a contrast to the protests and show of police support at the 2007 case of officers accused in the shooting death of Sean Bell, who was killed in a hail of 50 police bullets on his wedding day.
Assistant District Attorney Charles Guria said the confrontation began when the officers were called to a fast-food restaurant on a report of a stolen cell phone on the afternoon of Oct. 15, 2008, and saw Mineo, who was smoking pot, and a friend, he said.
"I don't care what kind of law Michael Mineo broke, there's no explanation, no excuse," Guria said in his opening statement.
Realizing he had been spotted, Mineo swallowed what was left of the joint and bolted for the subway, Guria said.
Witness Andrea Dallas, outside awaiting her husband who worked at the station and was inside with their child during the incident, testified she saw Mineo running, his pants sagging and his rear end showing, pursued by the officers.
Most of the officers chased him across the street and down into the station, where he was eventually handcuffed. On the ground, his hands behind his back, Kern sodomized him with the baton while Cruz yelled insults at him, prosecutors said.
Dallas' 13-year-old son, James Avery, testified that he heard one of the officers suggest Mineo had hidden drugs up his butt.
They brought him outside screaming and instead of arresting him, they wrote him a summons for disorderly conduct and let him go, telling him they'd arrest him if he ever told anyone, investigators said. The summons had a bad date and it would never have gone before a judge, Guria said.
"The officers were trying to make sure Michael Mineo didn't go to a hospital, didn't go to a police station," Guria said.
Guria said Mineo's DNA was found on Kern's baton, his boxer shorts were ripped and he was admitted to the hospital with injuries. A medical record obtained by The Associated Press described Mineo as being the victim of an "anal assault."
The AP does not usually identify people alleging sexual assault, but shortly after the attack, Mineo's lawyers issued a news release naming him with his approval. He has repeatedly made public statements about the encounter.
Defense attorneys say Mineo is a crafty scam artist who is using the media and the district attorney's office to get a big payday. Those proceedings will come after the criminal case.
Cruz's attorney, Stuart London, said his client's partner kicked Mineo and threw him to the ground after the officers nabbed him. London suggested the partner, Noel Jugraj, wasn't on trial because he agreed to testify against the other three officers.
"Michael Mineo in this case has become a packaged product. A product motivated by money," London said.
Richard Murray, who is defending Morales, claims his client saw nothing because he was with Mineo's friend back at the restaurant. Morales is accused of doctoring the summons and covering it up.
The defense attorneys had no explanation for the hole found in Mineo's boxer shorts, but they argued it would be unlikely for an attack to occur at a busy subway station in the middle of the afternoon, although the station is residential and fairly quiet. They also suggested Mineo exaggerated his injuries and may have even exacerbated a pre-existing medical condition during the struggle.