Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. wants to hold the court system accountable following Monday’s shooting of NYPD Officer Peter J. Figoski. Four men have been arrested in connection with the killing including Lamont Pride, who was jailed several times in New York and was wanted for a separate shooting in North Carolina. Though authorities in New York were aware of Mr. Pride’s outstanding warrant, they repeatedly released him because authorities in North Carolina didn’t specifically request extradition.
Over the past two days, Councilman Vallone has posted about the case several times on his Facebook wall. “How the hell did a judge previously let this cop killer out with NO bail??” Councilman Vallone wrote. “This piece of trash had an OPEN WARRANT (whether or not it carried with it an extradition order), from NORTH CAROLINA.”
Councilman Vallone has obtained court transcripts of Mr. Pride’s case and reviewed them. On Facebook, he wrote posts saying the courts have some explaining to do.
“North Carolina what the hell??? I’ve handled thousands of arraignments as both a prosecutor and a defense atty and have NEVER seen a warrant for a shooting NOT require extradition?? Explain yourselves now, because 4 girls would still have their dad if you hadn’t screwed that up and allowed a judge to make a terrible decision to set no bail,” Councilman Vallone wrote.
Councilman Vallone also faulted the New York courts for not taking the outstanding warrant into account when the decision was made to release Mr. Pride on bail.
“I was a Manhattan D.A., I did arraignments for six years. This type of foolishness happens all the time–low bail or no bail is set and defendants who should be held ,who should be forced to post bail are released right back into society,” Councilman Vallone told Politicker. “In this case, it had tragic consequences.”
Councilman Vallone told Politicker he knows he can’t change anything about Officer Figoski’s death by writing about it, but he hopes his postings make people more aware of issues in the legal system.
“Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done when it comes to an independent branch of government like that. There aren’t any inquests that can held or disciplinary proceedings, but I want all the facts to come to light,” Councilman Vallone said. “I wish there was an initiative that could be taken when it comes to cases like this, but there isn’t. I’m trying though to raise awarenes and to get as many facts out there as we can, so when all judges come up for re appointment or re-election they’re held accountable for their actions. When a police officer makes a mistake, there is tons of scrutiny and accountability, but when a judge makes a mistake, there’s no scrutiny or accountability.”