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Tawheed Brennen, 23, suing Nassau County for $1 million for alleged police brutality, unlawful arrest

L.I. man suing Nassau County Police over alleged police brutality
L.I. man suing Nassau County Police over alleged police brutality 02:17

NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y. -- A 23-year-old Long Island man claims he was the victim of police brutality and an unlawful arrest. 

Tawheed Brennen says body camera video proves he was assaulted by a Nassau County detective while other officers stood by in April 2022. 

"I was scared for my life. There's a lot of this going on around, and you never know when you could be the next person," said Brennen. 

Video shows a group of Nassau police officers wrestled Brennen to the ground outside a Baldwin grocery store. 

Brennen, a Job Corps culinary student at the time, was shopping for his mom. He inadvertently left his backpack at checkout while paying. When he returned for it, he was suddenly slapped with handcuffs. 

"My hands were blue and the way he had them, crushing them, he was trying to do damage to me. He hit me as well. He punched me, all while I'm in the grasp of the other officers," said Brennen. 

His attorney received the police body camera video. 

"There's no reason to punch him or smack him like they did in the head, and there's no reason to be pulling his hair. You have four, five, six officers surrounding a handcuffed young man," said Attorney Kenneth Mollins. 

How did this happen? The store, worried about the contents of the backpack, called police. In it were an airsoft BB gun, which Brennen said was for paintball, and a survival knife, which he said was for camping. 

Brennen was initially charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and drug possession. The District Attorney confirmed all charges have been dropped. 

"I want someone to pay for this, but I just know that not all police officers are bad," said Trinidy Brennen, Tawheed's mother. 

"I think they were profiling me as a young African American, because in all honestly I feel like if I was a young caucasian male, this wouldn't have happened to me," said Brennen. 

Brennen, who is suing Nassau for $1 million, has two priors. He was arrested at a George Floyd rally and has a past charge of assault. 

Nassau County Police internal affairs reviewed the case and filed no charges against the officers. They said they're unable to comment on pending litigation. 

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