West Islip man dies in police custody in Bay Shore


Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad detectives and the Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating the circumstances surrounding a man who died in police custody in Bay Shore this morning. 

Joseph Leonard was driving a 2016 Jeep Wrangler when his vehicle rear-ended a vehicle stopped at a light on Pine Aire Drive and 5th Avenue in Brentwood at approximately 5:30 p.m. on April 25. When police arrived, they found Leonard unconscious behind the wheel. Officers removed him from the vehicle, rendered first aid and administered Narcan. He was arrested and transported to South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore by Brentwood Legion Ambulance. Leonard was treated and released into police custody.

Leonard was charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th Degree. Leonard was issued summons for driving with a revoked license. He was held overnight at the Third Precinct in Bay Shore.

Preparing to transport Leonard to First District Court at approximately 9 a.m., police observed he was not breathing in his holding cell. First Aid was administered. Leonard, 58, of West Islip, was pronounced dead at the precinct.

Leonard’s cause of death will be determined during an autopsy by personnel from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

The New York State Attorney General’s Office was notified and responded to the scene. The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision were also notified.