Nassau officers face discipline in murder case

May 1, 2009 8:29:52 PM PDT
Six Nassau police officers and a supervisor face disciplinary action, officials said. An investigation that found they departed from department protocol by not documenting at least four domestic violence visits to the home of Jo'Anna Bird's mother.

The calls were made just days before Bird was murdered. Her former boyfriend is accused of the crime.

The officers were not identified.

Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said they did not know whether the officers were aware of a pending order of protection against the ex-boyfriend, Leonardo Valdez-Cruz.

The officers responded to domestic calls on March 15 and March 17.

Two days later, 24-year-old Jo'Anna Bird was murdered.

Her family says she constantly called police saying Valdez-Cruz told her he wanted her dead, but he would walk from the justice system every time. "They did a poor job protecting my sister and saving her life. Now her kids don't have a mother crying," Melissa Bird said.

The family claims the police also acted too slowly on the day that she died.

Police responded quickly, but Bird's family claims they are responsible for her death because officers waited three hours to go into the house, treating it as a hostage situation rather than a tactical entry.

The family's attorney, Frederick K. Brewington, said that the medical examiner's report suggests Bird died after police found her and that she would have survived if they had entered sooner.

Police officials said the first responding officers followed protocol because they believed there could be a hostage or barricade situation.

Bird's family has filed a lawsuit in the case.

Valdez-Cruz, 23, has been charged with second-degree murder.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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