Man accusing NYPD of abuse describes 'baton attack'
At the center of this controversial case is a man who claims an NYPD officer sodomized him
NEW YORK — A man who has accused a New York City police officer of sodomizing him with a baton testified Monday that he felt four jabs into his backside as he lay on the ground of a subway station, handcuffed and surrounded by cops.
"I was in pain, I was disoriented, I saw a white light," Michael Mineo testified at the second day of trial for the officer accused of assaulting him and two others charged with covering it up.
Mineo testified that he was later led out of the subway station, bleeding and screaming, to a blue-and-white police cruiser. "Every person that was passing by, I was screaming for help," he said.
Inside the car, he said the officers made him a deal: If he had no outstanding warrants, they would let him go, as long as he didn't tell anyone about the assault.
Even though he had a warrant for a gang arrest, they turned him loose with a disorderly conduct summons, then circled the block three times before leaving, he testified. The minute he was out of their sight, he took a taxi to a hospital, he said.
Officer Richard Kern is charged with aggravated sexual abuse and assault. Officers Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales are charged with hindering prosecution and official misconduct. The three defendants have pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, Kern could face up to 25 years in prison; the others could face up to four years.
Mineo testified that he was walking to a Brooklyn bus stop and was smoking pot on Oct. 15, 2008, when the officers came up behind him and said he was going to be arrested. He said he took off running because he had a lengthy rap sheet that includes eight arrests for drug possession, identity theft and gang assault and because he had no identification.
He ran for the subway, his baggy pants sagging, jumped a turnstile and nearly made a train leaving the station. After missing the train, he ran back upstairs, when he was punched by a uniformed cop, who "took him down," he said.
"I just started getting kicked, my head, my sides, I was just getting kicked," he said.
Mineo, a former tattoo parlor employee, wore a crisp lavender shirt under a cream striped sweater and black jeans in court Monday. Tattoos peeked out from his shirt sleeves and collar.
He stood as assistant district attorney Charles Guria asked him where his pants where on his hips at the time of the attack.
"They were down lower, almost to my buttocks," he said, suggesting officers didn't have to move his pants to assault him.
A few jurors winced or shook their heads as Mineo detailed the jabbing and the intense pain of the attack. He stood again to demonstrate how he reached down with his hands bound and jerked them around to find what he says was blood on his fingers.
Mineo said his friends encouraged him to go to a hospital, where he spent about five days.
Cross-examination was expected later Monday.
The officers' attorneys have argued that Mineo made the whole story up to try to win a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit. Kern's attorney John Patton on Monday asked that Mineo's copy of the summons be produced.