Debate Magazine

Balls and Bullets

Posted on the 16 December 2011 by Mikeb302000
It is horrible that this kind of mistake happened - twice.
But along with faulting the authorities for this cock-up (to borrow a phrase from Laci), the thoughts occurred to me - where did this guy get the gun?
And how would the result have been different if this man couldn't get his hands on a gun (or at least, not as easily)?

NC, NYC let accused cop killer slip away

By Melissa Russo, NBCYork.comNEW YORK -- New phone records between NYPD and Greensboro Police, and between the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office and Greensboro Police, appear to show the ball was dropped in two separate cases involving accused cop killer Lamont Pride.
Authorities apparently had several opportunities to keep the career criminal locked up before the fatal shooting Monday of a New York City police officer.
Balls and BulletsJessie Ward / Pool via APLamont Pride stands at his arraignment for the shooting and death of a New York Police Department officer, Peter Figoski.Phone records obtained by NBC New York show that NYPD did in fact reach out to North Carolina Police on Nov. 3 while Lamont Pride was still locked up in Brooklyn. The NYPD said it wanted Greensboro police to upgrade their warrant immediately so they could keep the allegedly armed and dangerous man behind bars in New York. NYC mayor blasts judge over accused cop killer's release
Until Wednesday night, the Greensboro Police Department has insisted the NYPD didn't call them until after Brooklyn Judge Evelyn Laport released him on Nov. 4. Had the warrant been upgraded right away, Lamont Pride would not have been released -- and may never have had the opportunity to fire the shot that killed Officer Peter Figoski.
"We don't want to get into a match with Greensboro," Ray Kelly said at a press conference Wednesday. "A police officer was killed here, that is the reality."
After a second call from the NYPD to Greensboro, the warrant was finally upgraded on Nov. 8 to apply outside the state of North Carolina.
Until Wednesday night, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office has insisted it never received a phone call about that important 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.
And when Lamont Pride failed to show up at a scheduled court appearance in Brooklyn on Nov. 15, there seemed to be no urgency in going after Pride. Judge Shari Michels seemed unaware of Pride's status as a violent fugitive, and the prosecutor never mentioned it, according to a court transcription. The defense attorney did say she had Pride's contact information -- but the judge said not to bother issuing a bench warrant.
Wednesday, Bloomberg unleashed on Judge Evelyn Laporte for initially setting Lamont Pride loose on Nov. 4.
"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.
"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 Brooklyn DA's office who now works as an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, disagreed. "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."

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