A Long Island man who said he was beaten and punched by two police officers while being arrested during a traffic stop that was captured on video had the criminal charges against him dropped by a prosecutor Monday.
Kyle Howell, 20, of Westbury, said he was grateful to the Nassau County district attorney's office for dropping charges, but he and his attorneys said they now want the arresting officers prosecuted.
"This is the first half of justice," attorney Amy Marion told reporters. "Justice will be completed when the officers who brutally attacked Kyle Howell as well have to now answer for charges that hopefully will be brought."
A spokesman for the Nassau County police department declined to comment Monday, citing an ongoing internal affairs investigation. The district attorney's office said it dropped the charges based on its own investigation, which a spokesman said is continuing.
James Carver, the head of the police union, blasted District Attorney Kathleen Rice for the decision clearing Howell. Carver has previously said the officers were attempting to restrain a suspect who had refused to comply with their orders.
"This was done without ever speaking to my police officers to find out their side of the story," he said at a press conference later Monday. "It's apparent that they're on a mission just to prosecute these two police officers."
A spokesman for Rice did not immediately respond to Carver's comments. Rice, a three-term incumbent, is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Congress.
Howell was arrested April 25, near his Westbury home. A video obtained by his attorneys from a nearby business shows the encounter, although the view of Howell inside the vehicle is somewhat obscured by a glare off the windshield.
Court documents allege Howell tried to swallow a bag of marijuana. Howell has claimed he was reaching for his paycheck as it started to fly out an open door when the officers restrained him.
His attorneys have said Howell has undergone surgery to repair injuries to his eyes.
Acting state Supreme Court Judge Alan Honorof ordered the criminal record against Howell sealed after agreeing to the prosecution request to drop the charges.
"This is a step in the right direction," said Howell's mother, Joan. "We just want to see these cops indicted."