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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Feds making inquiries into Kenny Lazo death

Newsday by MICHAEL AMON AND KEITH HERBERT - August 22, 2008,

Suffolk police officials said Friday federal authorities are reviewing the death of a Bay Shore man struck by officers with flashlights and who later died after passing out in a precinct interview room. FBI agents met Suffolk police brass and detectives earlier this year to discuss the April 12 death of Kenny Lazo and look at the department's investigatory file, Suffolk police officials said. Those files will soon be sent to the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District in Brooklyn, officials said. "They're basically monitoring the case," said Insp. David Ferrara, chief of the Suffolk police's Internal Affairs Bureau, adding that the FBI "looked at everything." Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer called the meeting -- the timing of which he wouldn't reveal -- "a preliminary sit-down." "We don't know what they're going to do with it," Dormer said. Suffolk police were cooperating, he said. Monica McLean, a spokeswoman for the FBI's New York field office, would not confirm the meeting nor the request for files, saying only the FBI was "aware" that Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota was probing the case. "We are not involved at this time," she said. A spokesman for Benton Campbell, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, declined to comment. The federal inquiries add another level of scrutiny to Lazo's death, which is also being probed by Suffolk homicide detectives, internal affairs and district attorney's office investigators. Prosecutors have told Lazo's family attorney a grand jury will soon consider the case. The New York State Commission of Correction, which regulates prisons, jails and precinct lockups, said Friday it had closed its own probe because Lazo did not die in a lockup. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Southside Hospital. Lazo, 24, was struck multiple times with metal flashlights while struggling with officers who had stopped him on the Southern State Parkway, police have said. Lazo was struck after trying to grab an officer's gun, according to police.

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