Three Officers Indicted in Subway Assault

Grand jurors investigating claims by a 24-year-old man that he was beaten and sodomized with an object by police officers inside a Brooklyn subway station in October have voted to indict three of the officers involved, people briefed on the matter said on Saturday night.

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Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Michael Mineo said he was injured in an Oct. 15 encounter.

One of the officers, Richard Kern, 25, faces an assault charge, the most serious of the charges in the indictment, which is expected to be unsealed on Tuesday. The charges stem from accusations by the man, Michael Mineo, that one of the officers jabbed a piece of police equipment — later identified in testimony as a baton — into his buttocks, causing internal injuries.

The other two officers are facing lesser charges. It was unclear which of the other four officers involved would be indicted or what the charges would be, said the people briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. “Kern’s charge is more serious than the others,” said one of those people.

Officer Kern, who has denied doing anything wrong, could not be reached for comment on Saturday night. His lawyer, John D. Patten, said he had not received any notification of an indictment.

The grand jury’s decision was reported on the Web site of The New York Post on Saturday night.

Albert O’Leary, a spokesman for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, did not return a call seeking comment on Saturday night.

Asked if the Police Department had been notified of the developments, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said, “I don’t know.” Asked to confirm that a grand jury had voted to indict Officer Kern and that two other officers would be charged with misconduct, Mr. Browne said, “I can’t confirm it.”

Stephen C. Jackson, who is one of Mr. Mineo’s lawyers, said he had no official confirmation that Officer Kern and the other officers had been indicted, but he said, “We fully expect an indictment.”

He said he would be on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio program on Kiss-FM, at 9 a.m. Sunday to discuss the case. He said Mr. Mineo would likely be linked in by phone.

He added that he felt there was no way indictments would not happen, based on all the evidence as he sees it. “I can’t see how indictments cannot be voted upon,” he said.

Kevin L. Mosley, another of Mr. Mineo’s lawyers, said that if reports of the grand jury’s vote were true, then “we’re pleased on behalf of our client that the grand jury has indicted the officer who was the primary miscreant in this and hope that justice will continue to move along.”

The special grand jury, which had been meeting since Oct. 28, was investigating Mr. Mineo’s account of what happened when the police confronted him at the Prospect Park subway station on the afternoon of Oct. 15. The police have said the officers approached Mr. Mineo, believing he was smoking marijuana, and tackled him when he ran. Finding no drugs, Officer Kern issued Mr. Mineo a summons for disorderly conduct.

But one officer, Kevin Maloney, a transit officer, came forward last month and told the grand jury that he saw Mr. Kern jab a baton into Mr. Mineo’s buttocks, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the testimony. The official said the testimony did not make clear whether Officer Kern intended to harm Mr. Mineo or whether he caused physical injury. Another person with knowledge of Officer Maloney’s testimony characterized it differently, saying he told grand jurors that Officer Kern had “pushed” or “placed” the baton against Mr. Mineo’s buttocks.

Mr. Mineo, a body piercer at a Brooklyn tattoo parlor, has said the encounter left him in physical pain for weeks and caused him to be hospitalized twice. Investigators said that medical records supported Mr. Mineo’s assertion that he suffered internal injuries, but Mr. Mineo’s lawyers have yet to publicly release those records.

The case has drawn comparisons to that of Abner Louima, who was sodomized and critically injured with a broomstick in a police station house bathroom in 1997, but the accounts of Officer Maloney’s testimony suggests that the severity of the two episodes are substantially different.

The grand jury voted on the indictments last week after hearing evidence for several weeks. One of the panel’s main tasks was gauging the severity of Mr. Mineo’s internal injuries.

According to accounts of his testimony, Officer Maloney, a two-year veteran of the Transit Bureau, told investigators he was on duty in the Prospect Park station when he saw Mr. Mineo trying to evade a group of officers. Officer Maloney said that he joined the chase and that he was helping to apprehend him when he saw Officer Kern jab or push at Mr. Mineo’s buttocks with the baton.

The Police Department initially said witnesses did not support Mr. Mineo’s account and did not remove any of the officers from active duty. But Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly supported the convening of a special grand jury by the Brooklyn district attorney as a way of establishing what did happen, and after Officer Maloney provided his account, Officer Kern and three others — Officers Alex Cruz, Andrew Morales and Noel Jugraj — were placed on modified assignment and their guns were taken away.

Officer Kern, a four-year veteran of the Police Department, has been part of another case involving accusations of excessive force during a 2007 arrest of two suspects, but his lawyer said he was cleared of wrongdoing in that case by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates claims of police misconduct. The city settled lawsuits against Officer Kern related to that allegation, but said there was no indication of wrongdoing by the officer.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

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