The civil case against Rockville Centre Police Officer Anthony Federico for allegedly using excessive force on two brothers and their friend during a skirmish outside a South Park Avenue bar in 2016 was discontinued on March 26.
Federico pleaded not guilty in March 2017 to charges including felony assault and falsifying police records. He waived his right to a jury trial and faced up to seven years in prison, but was acquitted after a two-week proceeding that wrapped up in February 2018, as Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Christopher Quinn found Federico not guilty on all counts.
The officer was responding to a fight outside the Beach House at about 2:40 a.m. on May 8, 2016, when prosecutors had said he used excessive force, allegedly striking village resident Kevin Kavanagh on the head with his Taser and opening a 6-centimeter laceration that required staples to close. Kavanagh’s brother, Brendan, was also involved in the tussle.
The brothers, along with Alyson Gallo, of Smithtown, who was out with them that night and recorded the incident on her phone, were the three plaintiffs in the civil suit, filed in May 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The three sought damages from Federico for using “unnecessary force” and repeatedly tasing the brothers, as well as from the village of Rockville Centre, “for negligently employing and failing to train and supervise” him, according to the complaint. The incident caused the plaintiffs “severe physical harm, extreme pain and suffering [and] psychological damages,” it adds.
Kevin said during the trial last year that he had suffered from anxiety, depression and sleeplessness since the incident. He testified that he had nightmares about his altercation with Federico, despite not remembering it. “There’s one [in which] I sprinted out of my room,” he said at the trial. “My parents were in a jail cell, and they were getting beaten by Officer Federico.”
He also recalled ordering food one day at a local pizza place when Federico walked in. “I almost fainted,” Kavanagh recalled. “I just threw my money at the desk and went to my car.”
But William P. Nolan, an attorney representing Federico, wrote in a letter to Judge Kathleen Tomlinson on March 6 that the Kavanagh brothers had not completed their deposition testimonies, despite being granted a number of extensions. He added that the plaintiffs had not appeared for independent medical examinations.
“It is abundantly clear that neither the plaintiffs or counsel has any interest in prosecuting this matter,” Nolan wrote. “. . . It is the burden of the plaintiff and not defense counsel to prosecute their case. Here, defense counsel has made numerous attempts for months to complete discovery to no avail.”
Nolan told the Herald that Gallo dropped out of the case several months out of Federico’s acquittal. After initiating a deposition of Kevin over the last year, he added, the plaintiffs’ attorneys agreed to discontinue the case.
“We think that obviously now Officer Federico has been totally vindicated as a result of this determination, certainly both criminally and civilly,” Nolan said. “…It shows that what he did was reasonable, necessary and proper.”
Federico remains a police officer in the village’s department. He was restored to full duty after his acquittal.
“It was a long time coming, and I’m just glad it’s over,” said Jim Carty, president of the Rockville Centre Police Benevolent Association, about the civil suit. “Now he can go back to policing and not have to worry about anything.”
Joseph Dell, an attorney representing the Kavanagh brothers, had not responded to the Herald’s request for comment at press time on Tuesday.