By Christopher Zoukis
Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Karen V. Murphy ordered the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) to turn over its Police Department Manual to the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit on October 6, 2015.
The manual was requested through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) petition filed by the law firm of Roth & Roth, LLP, which represents the estate of Andrea Rebello. Rebello, 21, was killed during an armed home invasion and hostage situation in May 2013; she was accidentally shot in the head by a police officer while being used as a human shield by Dalton Smith, 30, who was on parole at the time. Smith was also fatally shot by the police.
Rebello’s family accused the NCPD of conducting only a cursory investigation into the incident to protect the department from liability. The officer involved in the shooting, Nikolas Budimlic, did not face any criminal charges.
The Nassau County Police Department initially denied the FOIL request filed by Roth & Roth; the law firm then sued, alleging the NCPD had denied the records improperly. Following a conference with Judge Murphy, police officials agreed to release a heavily redacted version of the manual.
After several additional conferences and an in camera inspection of the manual by the court, the entire unredacted manual was ordered to be released, with the exception of several sections dealing with information that could compromise public safety, police security or the integrity of pending investigations if publicly disclosed.
The petitioner’s request for attorney fees was denied by the court. See: Roth & Roth, LLP v. Krumpter, Supreme Court, State of New York, Nassau County, Index No. 6590/2014.
Rebello’s estate filed suit in federal court against Nassau County and various NCPD employees in May 2016, claiming a lack of police training and errors by 911 dispatchers had contributed to Rebello’s death. The complaint also alleged “a massive cover-up,” noting police officials had determined the shooting was justified on the same day it occurred. The suit remains pending. See: Rebello v. Budimlic, U.S.D.C. (E.D. NY), Case No. 1:16-cv-02484-JMA-AKT.
Additional source: www.newsday.com
Related legal cases
Rebello v. Budimlic
|Cite||U.S.D.C. (E.D. NY), Case No. 1:16-cv-02484-JMA-AKT|
|Level||Court of Appeals|
Roth & Roth, LLP v. Krumpter
|Cite||Supreme Court, State of New York, Nassau County, Index No. 6590/2014|
|Level||State Trial Court|
This article originally appeared in Prison Legal News on [Month Day], 2017.
About Christopher Zoukis
Christopher Zoukis is an outspoken prisoner rights and correctional education advocate who is incarcerated at FCI Petersburg Medium in Virginia. He is an award-winning writer whose work has been published widely in major publications such as The Huffington Post, Prison Legal News, New York Daily News and various other print and online publications. Learn more about Christopher Zoukis at christopherzoukis.com and prisoneducation.com.