Rockville Centre, NY -- A Rockville Centre police officer is on trial for a May 2016 beating he gave to two brothers. The beating was captured on video and was bad enough to warrant an investigation and subsequent charges.
The incident began on the evening of the 8th, at a bar near South Park Avenue. Officer Anthony Federico arrived on the scene to investigate reports of a fight taking place. When he approached brothers Kevin and Brendan Kavanagh, the officer engaged the two.
The discussion quickly turned violent as Federico attempted to arrest both men -- for no reason. He tasered Brendan, and Kevin can be seen taking a swipe at Federico. The officer's actions may have been justified up until that point, and probably would have been justified in taking Kevin down as well, but he made a costly mistake. Instead of punching Kevin with his fists, he chose to punch him with the blunt edge of his taser, an action for which prosecutors have criminally charged him.
With the trial underway, evidence is being presented on both sides. Attorneys for Federico contend their officer was dealing with a cocaine-fueled, alcohol enraged citizen, who was being aggressive with the officer. The prosecution contended Federico had no business beating Kevin with the taser, an action likened more to police brutality than modern-day policing techniques.
Dennis Ring, Kevin's attorney, said in response to the toxicology report indicating the presence of cocaine and alcohol in his system, "suggesting that a victim’s impairment justified a violent assault by an officer," is a desperate measure in an attempt to undermine his client's integrity.
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The video is quite graphic and begins with Federico confronting Brendan. He starts to take him down but then deploys his taser. As he screams in pain from the shock, Kevin steps in to help his brother, and some might say justifiably so because there did not seem to be any real reason to arrest him. The charges against the two brothers were dismissed by prosecutors who also felt they did not have a case against the siblings.
Federico then turns his attention to Kevin and that's when prosecutors say he crossed the line from attempting a justified arrest to committing a felony. The officer took his taser and began to punch Kevin in the face with it. He then deployed his taser onto him as well. The whole altercation lasted only a few minutes but the video has proven very useful for prosecutors in court who've charged Federico with felony assault. The Rockville Centre officer pleaded not guilty in March and his trial is underway.
Federico has received a huge show of support from fellow officers who see his actions as justified. His lawyer, William Petrillo, addressed reporters outside the courthouse and said he's confident his client "will be exonerated in the end."
Petrillo continued, saying, "it is an indictment on all police and all police should be concerned." He said the decision to indict his client is likened to being a "Monday morning quarterback" and said if his client is found guilty, the unfortunate result will be that other officers in all jurisdictions will likely "hesitate" when faced with a similar situation where they're the only sober individual in the group.
We at The Free Thought Project believe in providing both sides of the issue whenever possible, and so we leave it up to you. You decide. Do you think, after viewing the beating the officer doled out, he should be found guilty of felony assault? Please comment below.