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Teen accuses officer of excessive force

July 3, 2012 8:18:11 PM PDT
A teenager says he was roughed up by a Nassau County police officer for walking in the street. It's not the first time this officer has been accused of using excessive force on a teen.

On the video, 16 year old Donte Hodge is seen getting put in handcuffs. On top of him with his knee in Hodge's neck is Nassau County Police Officer Joseph Stassi.

Hodge says he was on his way home from Roosevelt High School. He was walking in the street just off the curb with his earphones in listening to music.

"Before I knew it, I was just getting grabbed by someone and when I turned around it just happened to be a police officer," Hodge said.

Hodge came to Eyewitness News after seeing our story on Gary Mosley, another Roosevelt teen who alleges Officer Stassi routinely physically assaults him.

Mosley says Stassi also used excessive force when arresting him back in May for essentially jaywalking.

"I just want justice to be served in that this police officer understands that this type of behavior will not be tolerated its bullying you're bullying the children," Hodge's mother Denise said.

Police say in the case involving Hodge, Officer Stassi and his partner yelled at Hodge through a loud speaker on their cruiser telling Hodge to get up on the sidewalk. They say Hodge turned and looked at the officers, took out his earphones and kept walking in the street. The rest of the kids, police say, got back up on the sidewalk.

Hodge was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, but a judge recently dismissed all the charges against Hodge saying, "There was no reason for Officer Stassi to detain the respondent despite his uncooperative behavior upon the arrival of the officers."

But a spokesman for the police department, Inspector Kenneth Lack, says Officer Stassi's actions were justified.

"I think clearly the respondent should have complied with the officer and the officer used appropriate force for the incident that he was presented with," Lack said.

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