Editorial: 2011 shooting by cop is still in a shroud
Too many details remain unexplained about what happened that night in February 2011 when off-duty Nassau Police Officer Anthony DiLeonardo, during a night out in Huntington, shot and wounded an unarmed taxi driver.
What top Nassau County police brass visited the scene? Whom did they call and consult? Were the cellphone records of the police at the scene ever subpoenaed by investigators? Were Suffolk cops asked by their Nassau brethren to smooth over what happened? More than two years later, we still don't know those answers. Meanwhile the credibility of both departments is being eroded.
Just last week, State Supreme Court Justice William Condon, who is presiding over an unrelated case, demanded to look at the behavior of Suffolk police Det. Ronald Tavares in the DiLeonardo case. Tavares' conduct has become an issue in the murder trial of a Central Islip man who allegedly killed his neighbor with an ax and hid the body in a closet.
Condon signed subpoenas for two controversial internal law enforcement reports that cast doubt on the official version of what happened in the 2011 roadside incident with cabbie Thomas Moroughan. With two bullets still in his body and a morphine IV in his arm, the hospitalized Moroughan supposedly gave Tavares a statement that helped clear DiLeonardo of any wrongdoing for firing five shots, wounding the cabbie and endangering his girlfriend next to him in the cab. In a $30-million federal lawsuit against both departments, which names 18 police officers and superviors, Moroughan also claims Tavares refused to let him consult with an attorney.
When the integrity of our police is suspect, a venom is released into the criminal justice system. The two departments say their internal affairs reviews are ongoing, and Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota has reopened his probe after Newsday revealed the details of one police internal affairs report. They all owe the public some answers.