Suffolk police engaged in a “coverup of a coverup” involving the shooting of a Huntington cabbie by an off-duty Nassau police officer, Newsday reported Thursday.
The case began in Feb.27, 2011 when cabbie Thomas Moroughan got into an early morning roadside dispute with two off-duty Nassau police officers who had been drinking in Huntington. The police officers and Moroughran confronted each other on Oakwood Road near Tippin Drive, with one officer firing five bullets into the cab, hitting the cabbie twice. He was initially charged with reckless endangerment 2nd degree and assault 2nd degree. The charges were later dropped.
After charges against the cabbie were dropped in June 2011, the Suffolk department began investigating how it had handled the case. And three years after the shooting, the Nassau police department fired Anthony DiLeonardo, the officer who shot Moroughan.
Newsday’s report Thursday concluded that “Suffolk police brass pressed internal affairs to delete evidence that would support misconduct charges in arrest of cab driver.”
Newsday said it engaged five criminal law or police misconduct experts, including the former Suffolk police department’s internal affairs director, who faulted how the investigation of police conduct was handled. It was Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman who said, “It’s a cover-up of a cover-up,” adding ““They don’t want the truth to come out, because if the truth comes out, it’s very embarrassing. And maybe even worse, it’s criminal.”
Key points in the Newsday report include;
The Suffolk County Police Department ruled there was no misconduct by any member of the force and ordered no discipline.
In finding no fault, then-Commissioner Edward Webber overruled the department’s internal affairs chief, who had called for filing misconduct charges against a sergeant and a detective sergeant.
Former Chief of Detectives William Madigan pressed internal affairs commanding officer Michael Caldarelli to delete evidence from a report that Caldarelli considered crucial to supporting the charges, including accounts that DiLeonardo smelled of alcohol and that Moroughan had been given morphine, according to notes handwritten by Madigan.