Cell phone video evidence has been released that appears to show portions of a May 8 altercation between Rockville Centre village police officer Anthony Federico and residents Brendan Kavanagh, now 21, and his brother, Kevin, now 26. Federico stands accused of assaulting Kevin Kavanagh that night and later falsifying records. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The video shows Federico in a confrontation with Kavanagh’s younger brother, Brendan. Federico pushes him into a corner before repeatedly shocking Brendan with a Taser. Federico then pushes him to the ground. In the melee, Brendan reaches his hand out and wraps it around the back of Federico’s neck, before he is finally subdued.
As Brendan is falling to the ground, Kevin attempts to kick Federico. The officer then grabs Kevin, punches him more than once and pushes him into a corner, repeatedly shocks him with the Taser and strikes him over the head with it.
The release followed information revealed by Federico’s defense attorney, William Petrillo, who said on April 19 that he had evidence indicating Kavanagh had tested positive for cocaine and had a blood alcohol content of .20 on the night of the incident. Speaking in the lobby of the Nassau County courthouse, Petrillo said these factors could help explain the circumstances that led to his client using force against Kavanagh.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Federico used excessive force when he allegedly struck Kavanagh over the head with his Taser, causing a six-centimeter laceration that required sutures and staples to close. Federico is also accused of later falsifying records of the incident.
Kavanagh was charged with assaulting Federico and resisting arrest, while his brother Brendan was accused of resisting arrest, obstructing law enforcement and possessing fake identification, according to village police records. However, Joseph Dell, the Garden City attorney representing the brothers in their civil case against Federico, as well as a third client who was arrested that night, said the criminal charges against the two have been dropped.
A spokeswoman for Singas’s office said she would not comment on cases that have been dismissed. Both Dell and Petrillo have said the video supports their respective clients’ side of the story.
The incident allegedly occurred when, at 2:45 a.m., Federico responded to a report of a fight outside of a bar on South Park Avenue. At the April 19 hearing, Petrillo cited additional video surveillance as evidence that the Kavanaghs had previously been in a fight with others, and that Kevin was being picked up off of the ground by Brendan when Federico arrived on the scene to assist the two. Dell offered a different account of the incident.
“The police officer was dispatched to the location for that altercation,” Dell said. “He must have assumed my clients were the aggressors in that fight, but they were clearly not. They were the victims.”
Dell’s third client in the civil case against Federico is Suffolk County woman Alyson Gallow, who reportedly took the cell phone footage. According to village police records, she was arrested the night of the incident for drunken disorderly conduct. Dell alleged that Federico tackled Gallow while arresting her, causing a torn rotator cuff.
Federico is due back in court on June 29.