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Bloomberg slams judge in Figoski case

Lamont Pride, a murder suspect in the fatal

Lamont Pride, a murder suspect in the fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski, appears at his arraignment in Brooklyn criminal court with attorney James Koenig. Photo Credit: Pool / Jesse Ward

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Wednesday lashed out at a Brooklyn judge who last month released the career criminal accused of killing a New York City police officer from West Babylon.

The mayor said Lamont Pride, 27, was not behind bars this week because Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Evelyn Laporte let him go without setting bail after an arrest on charges of drug possession and endangering the welfare of a child.

If the judge didn't understand the warrants for Pride, Bloomberg said, she should have called the authorities in North Carolina and inquired.

"If you're talking about somebody who, the rap sheet in front of you shows is potentially a dangerous person, has a gun, has a criminal history, common sense says don't let him out until you make one phone call," Bloomberg said during a news conference Wednesday. "It's not a lot of work to do to protect the public. It was not done, plain and simple."

On Nov. 3, NYPD officers raided an apartment in Brooklyn and found six bags of crack and four bags of marijuana. Police arrested three people, including Pride, who didn't live there and was not the target of the raid.

At a hearing Nov. 4, Laporte released Pride without bail, even though a prosecutor requested $2,500 bail and informed the judge that Pride was wanted for a shooting in North Carolina, according to a court transcript.

David Bookstaver, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration, said Pride was charged with two misdemeanor crimes and Laporte has discretion in setting bail.

The arrest record police prepared for the court had a stamp that said "NO HIT," meaning no active warrant for New York State. "There was a warrant, but it was a warrant the court could not act on," Bookstaver said, because it only required extradition within the state of North Carolina.

"It is not productive to get into a back and forth with the mayor, the police commissioner or anyone else," Bookstaver said, adding that judges don't comment on pending cases.

The two in-state warrants were obtained by the police department in Greensboro, N.C., on Sept. 23 and 26, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Greensboro Police Department.

The warrant was amended Nov. 8 so that Pride could be extradited from other states after NYPD authorities contacted Greensboro police and told them of the November arrest, Greensboro police have said.

Pride and four accomplices are being held without bail for shooting and killing 22-year veteran Officer Peter J. Figoski, 47, a father of four.

Wednesday, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the second gun used Monday in the botched robbery, an unloaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, found in the microwave inside the basement apartment at 25 Pine St., was delivered from the gunmaker to a gun dealer in Indianapolis in 1966. The gun dealer is no longer in business, police said, and there are no records showing who may have bought the revolver.

Police said the revolver and the 9 mm Ruger semiautomatic they say Pride used to shoot Figoski are not known to have been involved in other shootings.

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