The man who drove the getaway car in a botched robbery that left an NYPD officer dead was acquitted of burglary charges on Wednesday.
Michael Velez was found not guilty of burglary two days after a jury found triggerman Lamont Pride guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Officer Peter Figoski, who was gunned down when he responded to a burglary call in East New York in 2011.
Velez testified in his own defense, saying that he thought he was just giving Pride and three other men a ride. Pride was acquitted of the most serious charge, first-degree murder, but faces 25 years to life in prison.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly decried the verdict.
"When juries fail to comprehend the monstrous scale of a police officer’s murder, they fail society itself," Kelly said in a statement. "God help us if other gunmen and their getaway drivers take comfort in these verdicts because when a police officer is murdered society at-large is struck a mortal blow. It’s shameful that the family of Peter Figoski must be crushed again by another incomprehensible verdict.”
Figoski, a 22-year veteran of the NYPD and father of four daughters, confronted Pride outside of a residence in East New York in December 2011. Pride shot Figoski in the face; the officer died at the hospital hours later.