NBC New York
Questions were raised Tuesday over how accused cop shooter Lamont Pride was previously let go after an arrest, despite warning signs he may have been armed. Melissa Russo reports.
The judge who released accused cop killer Lamont Pride without bail after a drug arrest last month had his 11-page rap sheet in front of her when she let him go, but wasn't aware of any outstanding warrants for him, NBC New York has learned.
The first page of Pride's rap sheet, obtained by NBC New York, was stamped "No Hit" by the arresting officer.
To a judge, "it means there are no outstanding warrants," said court spokesman David Bookstaver.
In fact, there was a warrant for Pride's arrest -- he was wanted for an Aug. 5 shooting in Greensboro, N.C. -- but it was issued in North Carolina for an in-state extradition only, meaning there was no requirement for a New York judge to hold him in jail.
Pride, who is from Coney Island, was also not deemed to be a potential flight risk or danger to the community, despite some crucial notes highlighted by police for Judge Evelyn Laporte to see.
One such asterisked section read, "Caution: Armed with handgun."
"The judges have discretion," said Bookstaver. "This case was a very minor case before the judge."
But Rick Castello, a former senior manager in the Manhattan District Attorney's office, said the judge's decision not to set bail was surprising.
"It's surprising there wasn't more of a discussion about the violent history involved here," he said.
Laporte was not available for comment Tuesday.
When a police officer from NYPD contacted Greensboro police on Nov. 8 to alert them of Pride's Nov. 3 arrest in New York City, Greensboro police upgraded the warrant to include full extradition from any state to North Carolina.
"The change in status in extradition was also entered into the national database on the afternoon of Nov. 8, and NYPD and the Kings County District Attorney's Office were advised telephonically of this change," according to Greensboro police spokeswoman Susan Danielsen.
Danielsen said when the department learned on Nov. 9 that Pride had been released from police custody, it asked the U.S. Marshals' Violent Fugitive Task Force for assistance in locating Pride.
"The U.S. Marshals had coordinated with NYPD in their efforts to locate and extradite Pride before the fatal shooting occurred," said Danielsen.
Pride is accused of fatally shooting NYPD officer Peter Figoski during a burglary in East New York, Brooklyn, Monday morning.
He was arrested by Figoski's partner, Glenn Estrada, when he tried to run away after the shooting.
Three additional suspects were arrested Tuesday, accused of helping to plan the drug robbery that went bad. They are expected to be charged with second-degree murder in the shooting. A fifth suspect was also in custody, but will not face a murder charge.
Figoski has been on the force 22 years, with more than 200 arrests and had 12 medals awarded, including eight for exceptional police duty.