Atty: L.I. Police Shooting Of Cabbie ‘Unjustified’

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A taxi driver wounded a weekend dispute with two off-duty police officers appeared in a Long Island courtroom for arraignment Monday with two slugs still in his body from what his attorney described as “an unjustified shooting.”

Do you think the shooting was justified? Leave a comment below

Thomas Moroughan pleaded not guilty to assault and reckless endangerment and was released on $2,500 bail following his arraignment in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip, attorney William Petrillo said.

Moroughan, 26, was wounded early Sunday morning during a confrontation with two off-duty Nassau County police officers in Huntington Station in neighboring Suffolk County, said Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky, chief of the Suffolk homicide squad.

A Suffolk police statement said the two off-duty Nassau officers, identified by Pelkofsky only as four-year veterans of the Nassau police, were stopped on the side of the road in unmarked cars at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday when Moroughan stopped his taxi behind them.

Petrillo said that at least one of the officers had been driving recklessly so his client confronted them. Moroughan is accused of driving his taxi toward one of the officers.

Then, “the officer fired his off-duty weapon into the taxi, identified himself as a police officer and told Moroughan to exit the vehicle,” according to the police statement. Police said Moroughan refused to exit the taxi and when the second police officer came to assist, Moroughan then struck both officers with his vehicle and fled.

He went to nearby Huntington Hospital after realizing he had been shot, his attorney said.

The officers went to the same facility for cuts and bruises.

Moroughan was later arrested, but Petrillo contends the police are to blame.

“The off-duty officer was driving recklessly, placing anyone on road in danger,” Petrillo said. “This led to a verbal dispute, which ultimately led to an inexperienced officer who had not identified himself firing multiple shots into the taxi cab, striking Mr. Moroughan twice,” the attorney said.

Petrillo, who said neither officer was given a field sobriety test after the shooting, said he would ask the district attorney’s office to investigate. A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota had no comment.

Pelkofsky would not comment on the attorney’s claims, citing an ongoing investigation.

A Nassau County police spokesman declined to identify the officers or release any information about them, noting the investigation was being handled in the neighboring county.

“As in all police officer-involved shootings where our officers participate, we will also conduct an administrative review,” Lt. Kevin Smith said in a statement. A union representative for the officers did not immediately return a call for comment.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • cwh

    First off why are NCP OFF DUTY IDIOTS telling anyone to exit the vehicle, why are they not drug and alcohol tested as the cab driver was? THIS IS A COVER-UP, plain and simple… where are their names?

  • Ronnie from morris park

    The officers aren’t tested for drinking after the shooting tells me that the blue wall of silent is up on this one.

  • Bob

    If someone is shooting at me in my car, I think I would retreat, without regard for the individual who is shooting. Then I think I would seek medical attention if I were hit. Sounds like two “cowboy” cops. Welcome to the New World Order.

  • Ronny O

    Just what were two off duty Nassau cops doing in Suffolk county in unmarked cars. And why no field sobriety tests. Oh I forgot they were cops.

  • Homie

    Throw everyone in jail.


    I don’t believe the police officer’s story, not one bit. The cabby has a tough enough job as it is why in the world would he try and run over two individuals. I’m sure that they are sirvalence camera’s that captured this incident. I would suggest to the defense attorney find the video, before the police do or no one will ever know the truth!

  • Timothy Davis

    Another Nassau County f#@k up!

  • Mr Armenia

    The cabbie is to blame here.

    Sounds like the attorney is making this racial.

    • Out of his mind

      Where is race mentioned anywhere in this article. Oh that’s right, you just made it up b/c anyone who accuses the police of wrong-doing is automatically at fault regardless. The only person making this racial when it doesn’t have to be is you.

  • vincent lore

    I don’t believe the police for one second. This taxi driver was waiting for a fare at the Huntingdon train station. Why would he want to run over two men, who happened to be off duty cops? It doesn’t sound right. Were the cops drinking? Did they get tested? What do they say provoked the driver to attempt hitting them with his taxi?
    I’m sorry – it doesn’t make any damn sense. It sounds more like an incident involving drinking, and a completely unnecessary shooting.

  • I've done the math...

    If someone is trying to kill me with their car, and I have a gun, guess what I’m gonna do.

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