The suit comes from the man who claims that Police Commissioner Michael Tangney punched him during a traffic stop last December.
By Alex Costello, Patch Staff | Sep 21, 2018 12:39 pm ET | Updated Sep 21, 2018 2:26 pm ET
A Syosset man who claims that Long Beach Police Chief Michael Tangney punched him without provocation is now suing the city and Tangney for $15 million for physical and emotional harm.
Kevin Holian, 65, a retired IRS worker, claimed last December that Tangney pulled him over in Long Beach for running through a stop sign and then punched him in the face while he was trying to get his license and registration. However, an investigation conducted by the Nassau County District Attorney's office closed this year and did not bring charges against Tangney.
Court documents show that Holian and his wife are suing the city for multiple reasons, including malicious prosecution, abuse of power, emotional distress, violating Holian's civil rights and causing Holian to be unable to have intercourse with his wife, among others.
According to Holian, he was driving home from visiting his 91-year-old mother in the Long Beach Nursing Home last December when he heard furious honking and shouting coming from a silver Lexus behind him, which made no indication that it was a police vehicle. Holian said he pulled over, and that's when Tangney turned on his police lights.
Holian was taking pictures, and said that Tangney came over to his car with his identification, threw it onto his dashboard, told him to keep his hands on the wheel and at the same time produce his license and registration. According to Holian, when he went to get his documents out of the glove compartment, Tangney reached into the car and punched him on the left side of his face.
After that, Holian said Tangney took his documents back to his car, and then a uniformed officer arrived. Tangney drove off after the other officer arrived, and Holian said Tangney gave him the finger as he drove by. When Holian said he told the officers that Tangney had hit him and that he was bleeding, he claims the officer said, "You're not bleeding. And I'm the only one here. There's no one else here." The officer issued Holian a ticket for driving through a stop sign.
Tangney, who is also the acting city manager, denies punching Holian. He said that he did pull him over, but never assaulted Holian. He confirmed that he left when the uniformed officer arrived. Tangney has been with the Long Beach Police Department for more than 40 years, and has been commissioner since 2012.