NEW YORK—A former convict who shot NYPD Officer Peter Figoski in December 2011 was sentenced to at least 45 years in prison Thursday.
Lamont Pride of North Carolina was found guilty of second-degree murder several weeks ago and was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison by State Supreme Court Justice Alan Marrus in a Brooklyn courtroom, according to Newsday.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which represents officers, praised the judge for handing down the sentence after the jury had not given him the harsher life-without-parole sentence because they found him not guilty of intentionally killing Figoski.
“Juries can be easily misled by professional criminals who will say anything to avoid being held responsible for their heinous crimes as happened in this case,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the association, in an official statement. “We are fortunate to have had a judge preside at this trial who recognized the jury’s mistake and applied maximum consecutive sentences to afford Peter Figoski’s family, friends and colleagues a measure of justice.”
“The defendant needs to know that when you kill a police officer, there are no deals,” Marrus said before announcing his sentence, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I want to make it crystal clear that this is my intention that the defendant … never get out of prison.”
Pride apologized to his family before being sentenced, but not to the family of office Figoski. He said previously that the shooting was accidental.
“I just want to apologize to my family for what they are going through right now,” Pride said, according to the Journal. “I want to let my two brothers who are here today, as long as I got you in my corner til the end I am going to stand tall.”
The three-week trial was attended by many members of Figoski’s family and dozens of police officers.
“He made everything better and Lamont Pride stole that from us,” one of Figoski’s daughters, Caitlyn, 19, said, according to The New York Times.
Michael Velez, 22, allegedly involved in the attempted robbery that led to the shooting as a getaway driver, was acquitted of all charges. Velez was, however, recently sentenced to two years in jail for parole violation, according to Newsday.Although Pride, 28, would allegedly be eligible for parole after 25 years, Laurie Shanks, professor at Albany Law School, told Newsday that it is rare for killers of police officers to get parole, especially nowadays.
“You even have less of a likelihood [of parole] now,” she said. “Now every crime is on the front page of every paper and it’s on social media.”