Mayor Bloomberg blasted a Brooklyn judge for missing an opportunity to keep a so-called career criminal locked up on an outstanding warrant just weeks before he was accused of killing an NYPD officer.
Lamont Pride, accused of fatally gunning down Officer Peter Figoski on Monday, had been arrested on a drug charge in November. When he appeared before Judge Evelyn Laporte in Brooklyn the following day, she let him go, despite a warrant on him in North Carolina.
"A judge here in New York not only didn't put him behind bars, didn't even think it was appropriate for bail," Bloomberg said Wednesday.
"The rap sheet in front of you shows this potentially dangerous person has a gun, has a criminal history," said Bloomberg. "Common sense says don't let him out until you make one phone call. It's not a lot of work to do to protect the public. It was not done."
Jeff Kern, a veteran prosecutor in the Brooklyn DA's office who now works as an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, disagreed with the mayor.
"Judges during arraignments, it's hectic, there's a lot of pressure," he said. "In this case, there's not a lot the judge could have done for the warrant to hold Pride."
NBC New York first reported the court's missed opportunity on Monday.
The warrant on Pride at the time was for extradition in North Carolina only. So it was up to the judge on whether to keep him.
Phone records obtained by NBC New York on Wednesday show that NYPD did reach out to North Carolina police on Nov. 3 while Lamont Pride was still locked up in Brooklyn after the drug arrest. The NYPD said it wanted Greensboro police to upgrade their warrant immediately, which would have forced the judge to keep him in custody.
Until Wednesday night, the Greensboro Police Department had insisted the NYPD didn't call them until after the judge released him on Nov. 4.
"We don't want to get into a match with Greensboro," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters Wednesday. "A police officer was killed here, that is the reality."
After a second call from the NYPD to Greensboro, the warrant was upgraded on Nov. 8 to apply outside the state of North Carolina. But by then, it was too late -- he was released.
Until Wednesday night, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office has insisted it never received a phone call about that change. But phone records show that within minutes after the warrant was upgraded, Greensboro Police called the Brooklyn DA's office and spoke for almost 11 minutes.