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Family of Hofstra student killed by Nassau cop want police leader deposed

Nassau County Police at the scene of the

Nassau County Police at the scene of the off-campus shooting May 17, 2013, in Uniondale in which Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello, right, was accidentally shot and killed by a Nassau police officer. Credit: Paul Mazza; Handout

Lawyers for the family of a Hofstra student who died in a 2013 police shooting want a judge to let them depose Nassau's top police official and inspect police records as they seek answers about what hostage incident procedures were in place that day.

In a Nov. 24 order, state Supreme Court Justice George Peck said police officials should be in court Dec. 23 to answer a legal filing connected to late student Andrea Rebello. The judge would then hear any arguments they have about why terms of the filing shouldn't be granted.

Rebello, a 21-year-old junior from Tarrytown, died after a Nassau police officer accidentally shot her in her off-campus apartment as a gunman used her as a shield during an armed home invasion.

A Nassau district attorney's office review later found Officer Nikolas Budimlic, who also shot and killed the armed intruder, was justified in using deadly force.

However, Rebello's relatives filed a wrongful-death lawsuit last year against the county and police department. The new filing is part of a special proceeding lawyers for Rebello's family initiated as they pursue the civil claim.

The lawyers' requests to inspect police records and depose acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and police attorney Joanne Oweis grew out of the department's conflicting responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records show.

In an emailed statement, Tatum Fox, counsel for Krumpter, said Monday that the department doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Records show Manhattan attorney David Roth filed the matter on behalf of his co-counsel in the Rebello case, Byron Lassin, who is appealing to the court in what's known as an Article 78 proceeding.

The filing says the police department answered one public record request after a court order by confirming a 1995 Commissioner's Procedural Order relating to hostage incidents was in place when Rebello died.

But when the attorneys then requested all Commissioner's Procedural Orders from 1995 through July 1, 2015, Krumpter replied that "no such records exist."

The filing says police also denied a request for a separate hostage incident procedure mentioned in a police manual, with Krumpter saying the department "cannot provide such documentation as there are no records responsive to your request."

Roth said Monday there's reason to question what procedures were in place in 2013 because police officials have contradicted themselves.

"Either the Nassau police have hostage / barricade procedures to follow or they don't. These records are important to public safety and the shell game that is being played regarding these procedures requires a complete and thorough investigation," he wrote in the filing.

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