Long Island Man Who Sued Cops Arrested in Knifepoint Robbery: Police

A Long Island man who said he was pummeled by police officers during a traffic stop two years ago has been arrested, accused of robbing a man and a woman sitting inside a car at knifepoint, police say. 

Kyle Howell, 22, of Westbury, approached a parked car in Great Neck Plaza Monday evening, opened the door and put a knife to the throat of a 20-year-old man sitting inside, Nassau police said. 

When the man tried to push him away, Howell allegedly cut him on both hands, police said. The 19-year-old woman sitting in the car handed over $400 in cash, and Howell allegedly stabbed both car seats, then ran away. 

Howell had arranged to meet them as part of a drug sale but instead robbed them, according to authorities. 

The man was treated for his cuts at a local hospital. No other injuries were reported. 

On Tuesday, police found Howell inside a car on Spinney Hill Drive in Manhasset, along with 31-year-old driver Jamiel Hendricks of Manhasset and 26-year-old passenger Nancy Peterson of Flower Hill, Nassau police said. 

All three were found with Xanax, and Howell was additionally found in possession of cocaine, according to Nassau police.

Howell was charged on multiple counts of robbery, assault, weapon possession and drug possession. Hendricks and Peterson were each charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The three were arraigned Tuesday in First District Court in Hempstead.

"I was framed," Howell told reporters as he walked to court in handcuffs. 

His parents appeared in court but said nothing in defense of their son, a departure from their vocal support during the alleged beating case. 

"I don't know enough to make any comments," said his mother.

Nassau Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said: "There's no way this individual is being framed. He committed the crime." 

Howell filed a federal lawsuit against Nassau police officers Vincent LoGuidice and Basil Gomez last July, claiming they "beat him relentlessly" when they pulled him over for driving with a broken windshield in Westbury in April 2014.

During the encounter, which was captured on surveillance cameras from a nearby business, the two officers are seen speaking with Howell briefly before LoGiudice walks behind the car and then runs back to the passenger-side door. The officers, who are white, then appear to begin punching and kicking Howell inside the car. Howell, who is black, claimed the encounter was racially motivated.

The officers arrested Howell at the scene on assault, resisting arrest and drug charges. They claimed in court papers that there was a "violent struggle" when Howell tried to swallow a bag of marijuana.

Howell initially denied those allegations at a news conference, but later told prosecutors that he had lied and was trying to toss the drugs when the officers beat him. The charges against him were dropped.

LoGiudice was charged with assault, while Gomez was never charged. LoGiudice was later acquitted in a non-jury trial, with the judge saying "the video doesn't tell the whole story," and that she believes LoGiudice's claim that he feared for his life when Howell reached into his glove compartment. 

Howell said in a news conference the following week: "Nassau police beat me and now it seems that they're going to get away with it."

Neither Howell's lawyer nor a community activist who stood with him offered any words on Howell's behalf Tuesday. The 22-year-old has now been arrested eight times, with three convictions. 

The lawyer for LoGiudice offered no comment Tuesday.

Greg Cergol contributed to this report 

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