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Nassau settles wrongful death suit brought by daughter of slain woman

Hempstead Village had promised in 2017 to pay N'Daya Lee, the daughter of Diane Parker-Reed, a judgment of $1 million plus attorneys' fees and other costs, documents show.

Diane Parker-Reed was killed by her husband, Leonard

Diane Parker-Reed was killed by her husband, Leonard Reed, in 2013. Her daughter had claimed that Nassau County and Hempstead Village police failed to enforce an order of protection, making them responsible for her wrongful death. Photo Credit: Handout

Nassau County settled a federal lawsuit earlier this month with the daughter of a woman who was killed by her husband in 2013, court documents show.

N’Daya Lee, the daughter of Diane Parker-Reed, had claimed that Nassau County and Hempstead Village police failed to enforce an order of protection that her mother had against Leonard Reed, making them responsible for her wrongful death. Reed was convicted of the slaying — and the attempted murder of a responding Hempstead police officer — in 2015.

Lee’s Manhattan attorney, Mariel LaSasso, wrote in a Sept. 5 letter to the court that the county and Lee have entered into a settlement agreement, according to court documents. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, including the amount and whether the county admitted any wrongdoing.

Hempstead Village promised in 2017 to pay Lee a judgment of $1 million plus attorneys’ fees and other costs, documents show. The village did not admit any wrongdoing.

“Ms. Lee is a hero for bringing this lawsuit and exposing the truth about the complex and dangerous reality that she and other domestic violence victims face, which must be met with an appropriate and coordinated law enforcement response,” LaSasso said in a statement Tuesday.

Nassau County police jointly handle domestic violence incidents in the village and the county trains Hempstead police to handle such cases.

County officials declined to comment, saying the lawsuit technically remains ongoing because the settlement paperwork has not been finalized. Kenneth Pitcoff, a Manhattan attorney who represented Hempstead Village and its police officers, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and the family of the victim.”

Shetia Preston — who lived with the Reeds at the time of the murder and was shot by a Hempstead police officer at the time — filed in 2014 a separate state lawsuit against the county, the village and several of its police officers, alleging that she was “trapped in her home” during “a shootout that police never should have begun.” That suit is ongoing.

Lee’s lawsuit is similar to one filed in state Supreme Court last month by the niece of a woman who was killed, allegedly by her nephew, against whom she had an order of protection. The niece claims in court papers that Hempstead Village Police Department's failure to respond to multiple 911 calls, despite knowing about the order of protection, contributed to the victim’s wrongful death in 2017.

The nephew, Kevin Pratt, is charged with murder, criminal contempt and aggravated criminal contempt. The village has not commented on the suit.

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