Nassau police officers' actions in deaths questioned

Andrea Rebello as seen in her 2010 high

Andrea Rebello as seen in her 2010 high school yearbook photo. The 21-year-old Hofstra University junior was killed during an armed home invasion at an off-campus residence in Uniondale. (Credit: Sleepy Hollow High School)

The details of the Moroughan shooting, and the department's response to it, come at a difficult time for Nassau police. One of their officers accidentally shot and killed an innocent 21-year-old Hofstra student last month in a home invasion, one of at least three deaths in recent years that have raised questions about officer conduct.

 

May 17, 2013:

Andrea Rebello

Nassau police Officer Nikolas Budimlic responded to a call about a home invasion burglary at a house on California Avenue rented by Hofstra students near the university, in Uniondale. Police say parolee Dalton Smith, 30, pointed a gun at Budimlic as Smith was holding Rebello as a human shield about 2:30 a.m. Police later said Budimlic fired eight shots, and Rebello was killed.

Nassau Internal Affairs is investigating. Police have said it is unclear whether Budimlic, a 12-year veteran, knew he was responding to a hostage situation. The department has refused Newsday's requests for a transcript of the 911 call and for a description of its procedures for hostage situations. Rebello's family indicated this month that it intends to sue the department.

 

Aug. 30, 2011:

Kurt Doerbecker

Nassau police Officer Shevach Berkovits shot and killed Kurt Doerbecker, 23, of Point Lookout. Police said he ran toward officers with a 12-inch knife. The family disputed that account, saying that Doerbecker was shot in the back of the head. In July 2012, the Nassau district attorney's office found that Berkovits was "entirely justified" when he shot and killed Doerbecker. The family has filed suit.

 

March 19, 2009:

Jo'Anna Bird

Bird, 24, was stabbed to death in a New Cassel home by her ex-boyfriend, Leonardo Valdez-Cruz. An internal Nassau Police Department investigation later found that at least seven Nassau officers, including a patrol supervisor, failed to properly investigate at least four domestic violence incidents in the days before her murder.

After reading the confidential Bird investigation, the late Nassau County lawmaker Peter Schmitt told News 12 Long Island that 22 police officers "ought to be ashamed to look at themselves in the mirror every morning."

Bird's family agreed to a $7.7 million settlement with the county in March 2012. The department has refused Newsday's requests to make its Bird investigation public.

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