2001-03-17 / Front Page

Belle Harbor Man Charged With Murder

By Joan Ward George

Michael Taffinder, of Belle Harbor, was arrested Sunday for the murder of Arthur McNeil, a Long Island taxi cab driver.

According to police, Taffinder, 31, of 209 Beach 131 Street, Belle Harbor, has, for at least the past week, stalked exotic dancers as they left a Huntington Station club, the Carousel Lounge. Taffinder stands accused of following a woman home from the Carousel Lounge the weekend of March 3rd and 4th, approaching the taxi she was exiting, shooting the driver to death and severely injuring the woman.

Police say a very similar situation occurred this past Sunday, which led to Taffinder’s arrest. According to the police, another dancer and her co-worker, who was escorting her home, were followed by a man they believe to be Taffinder, who fired shots at them. He was arrested after fleeing the scene and leading the police on a high-speed chase down Route 110. He has been charged with one count of second degree murder for allegedly killing the taxi cab driver and one count of second degree attempted murder for firing two shots at the dancer and her escort last Sunday.

Taffinder was reported by police to be an individual who has an aversion to Black people. The cabbie who was murdered last week and the dancer he was transporting home are both Black.

More charges against Taffinder are pending.

A spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office told The Wave that more charges against Taffinder are pending. However, authorities expect that the Suffolk County grand jury will act on the original two charges that Taffinder was arraigned on no later than Monday, March 19th. Whether or not there will be a push to change the charge of second degree murder to murder in the first degree is still up in the air.

Drew Biando, speaking on behalf of the Suffolk County D.A.’s office, told The Wave Thursday that, "It is something that is being considered, but whether or not we present a murder one charge to the grand jury has not been determined at this time." His office also confirmed that Taffinder has no prior arrests.

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