Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and forgive us for repeating ourselves, needs to appoint a special prosecutor in the shooting case of former Nassau County police Officer Anthony DiLeonardo, because local law enforcement is unwilling to uphold the law.
Police officers can be punished for wrongdoing, and a recent case in New York City made it clear how. Former NYPD Officer Brendan Cronin will go to prison for opening fire on two men while he was in a drunken stupor. But for that to happen, there had to be a legitimate investigation of the shooting and a willingness to charge him.
In April 2014, Cronin followed a day of in-service police training with a night of heavy drinking, then fired more than a dozen shots at two men stopped at a traffic light. One was hit six times, but survived. Because a probe was conducted and there was a willingness to hold him accountable, Cronin eventually agreed to plead guilty to attempted murder and other charges. He faces nine years in prison.
Because there was neither a legitimate investigation nor a willingness to charge then-Nassau Officer Anthony DiLeonardo after he got drunk off-duty and shot cabbie Thomas Moroughan in Huntington Station in 2011, DiLeonardo is free. An internal affairs report made clear DiLeonardo was drunk and there was more cover-up than investigation. That report is evidence of a conspiracy within the Nassau department.
The Nassau County Deadly Force Response Team quickly ruled, clearly inaccurately, that DiLeonardo was sober and justified. Both the Suffolk and Nassau police departments had reason to investigate this case to the tiniest detail. Instead, both botched the case, seemingly to protect a brother in blue. Both the Suffolk and Nassau district attorneys had reason to claim a piece of this case, yet neither has done enough to bring the truth to light and DiLeonardo to justice.