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John Nuthall


February 12, 2013

PBA president's responds to Figoski verdict

PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said:

“In this country, we put our trust in the jury system.  But it has let us down. Justice was not served in Brooklyn in the murder trial of Peter Figoski.  The jury rejected the top count of intentional murder of a police officer against cop-killer Lamont Pride, which carried with it a sentence of life without parole.  In order to reach this conclusion, the jury had to accept that Pride brought a 9mm semi-automatic handgun to the planned robbery of a drug dealer and racked a round into the chamber to ensure it was ready to fire with no intention of using it. They also had to credit the remarkable claim that when faced with no option to escape the scene of the crime, he accidentally shot the cop who blocked his one path to freedom.  They had to buy this account in the face of Pride’s videotaped confessions where he offered three different accounts of what occurred, even admitting that he was just trying to find a way of reducing the time he’d have to serve.  In failing to properly to do its job, the jury victimized the family of Peter Figoski once again.

“When police officers leave their family for work each day, they say goodbye to their family knowing full well that it may be for the last time.  That sobering reality makes what we do different from virtually every other job.   On the evening of December 11, 2011, Police Officer Peter Figoski departed for work for a midnight to 8 a.m. tour, as he had for the past 22 years.  Sadly, it was his last goodbye to his family.  Early the next morning, while responding to a burglary in progress he encountered an armed career criminal who was desperate to escape the scene of yet another crime.  In a moment, during the confrontation, the life of a dedicated Police Officer, Father, brother, son and friend was tragically ended. 

“And now the aftermath.   For the family, it has been over a year of days — birthdays, holidays, special events — all with Peter absent.  Now, thirteen months later, with the Figoski family seated ten feet away, a jury let Pride skate on the top charge.  Sure, Pride will get a sentence of 25 years to life, but a day will come when he will be considered for parole.  His family will once again have to face the horror of reliving the tragic events of that night in an effort to keep him behind bars.

“During the ordeal of trial, which by its nature requires those present to relive their loved ones death, Peter’s mom and dad, brothers, his four daughters and former wife, have been under tremendous stress.  For anyone who has not experienced it, it is a very strange feeling to sit only feet away from someone who has taken away your loved one.  Every fiber of one’s character is tested at such trials.  But, like Peter, the Figoski family is strong and loving.  And the dignity and strength of this family was evident each day of the trial. 

“You can see that this loving and still grieving family aches to return to their life as it was before Peter was so violently taken.  On Thursday morning, outside the courtroom before deliberations began, officer Frank Donalds and his canine partner stood in support of the family.  The German Shepard, named “Pete” in honor of the fallen officer, with his silver police shield dangling from his collar, gave the Figoski family a break from the tension of court.  As they petted him, understanding that Pete represented one way the NYPD was dealing with the loss of their fallen comrade, the pain of the trial melted away, if just for a moment. 

“Now our mission is twofold: we must continue to embrace and care for the Figoski family as if they were our own and we must pledge ourselves to ensure that Lamont Pride, who cares for nothing but himself, remains in prison for the rest of his life.  When he comes up for parole, the PBA will be there to oppose it.”

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The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York (PBA) is the largest municipal police union in the nation and represents nearly 50,000 active and retired NYC police officers.