Joanna Bird's family still awaiting settlement payment

WOODBURY - The family of a New Cassel mother killed by her ex-boyfriend is still waiting for Nassau County to pay an $8 million settlement reached in July after they claimed police failed to protect her.

Joanna Bird, 24, was stabbed to death by Leonardo Valdez-Cruz in March 2009. Her family sued the Nassau County Police Department, accusing officers of failing to prevent the killing, even though Bird had an order of protection against her ex-boyfriend.

Fred Brewington, the attorney for the Bird family, reached the settlement with the County Attorney's Office, but the Legislature still hasn't signed off on the deal.

Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) says the matter was delayed because Brewington was also suing the county on a different case.

Brewington says the family has waited long enough for the county to honor the settlement. He's asking a judge to force the county to pay in order to avoid a costly trial.

As News 12 Long Island has reported, at least 13 department members from Nassau's 3rd Precinct were eventually disciplined in connection with the Bird case. Citing state civil service laws, police have refused to release their names, or discuss the charges and punishments.

The Legislature's finance committee is scheduled to discuss the settlement again next month.Jury takes up case of Joanna Bird murder

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