Family of slain Hofstra student seeks investigative records
A new court filing from the family of a Hofstra student who died from a police officer's bullet accuses Nassau County officials of hiding behind legal exemptions instead of releasing records related to the death.
"The respondents are using the ongoing investigation exemption to avoid public accountability," David Roth, an attorney for the family of Andrea Rebello, said in Friday's filing in a State Supreme Court case.
Authorities have said that a Nassau officer who was responding to a home invasion at Rebello's Uniondale rental home on May 17 opened fire after confronting a suspect who was holding the 21-year-old student in a headlock with a gun to her head.
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Police said the officer, identified by law enforcement sources as Nikolas Budimlic, pulled the trigger after the suspect pointed the gun at him.
Authorities said the officer's gunfire also killed Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead, the ex-convict who took Rebello hostage.
Roth said a police sergeant's affidavit that county officials recently submitted in court papers amounts to a "blanket exemption" that doesn't specify what documents exist and why their release would interfere with the law enforcement probe.
"We do not comment on pending litigation," Acting Nassau County Attorney Carnell Foskey said in a statement in response to Friday's filing.
The student's family has filed notice of plans to sue the county for wrongfully causing Rebello's death.
"The officer who shot the bullet that killed Andrea Rebello has been allegedly cleared, so who or what is the homicide squad investigating regarding these deaths?" the lawyer argued in the filing.