DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A jury acquitted Lamont Pride of the top charge of aggravated murder Monday in the shooting death of NYPD officer Peter Figoski, in what many police supporters called a slap in the face to the veteran cop.
After three days of deliberation, the jury found Pride not guilty of aggravated murder — which required them to believe he set out with an intent to kill, and would have come with a sentence of life without parole, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.
But the panel still convicted Pride of second-degree murder, a lesser murder charge, which could land him in prison for 25 years, the DA's office said.
The verdict enraged the Police Benevolent Association.
"We are angry that the jury did not find Peter Figoski's killer guilty of the top count of aggravated murder," PBA president Patrick Lynch said in a statement Monday. "The killer brought a gun to a robbery, racked a round into its chamber to be certain that he could fire it at any point during the crime and he used it to kill a man who was a great cop and great father in order to escape.
"If that doesn't demonstrate intent, then it hard to imagine what does."
Pride shot 47-year-old Figoski — a 22-year veteran of the force who had four daughters and was posthumously promoted to detective — in the head after officers disrupted an attempted drug robbery in a Cypress Hills basement in December 2011.
His defense contended he shot the officer by accident after the two started to struggle while Pride was trying to flee.
Thousands of officers from several states attended Figoski's funeral on Dec. 19, 2011 in his hometown of Babylon, Long Island, The New York Times reported.
“You feel like you’ve lost a brother,” Suffolk County police officer Joseph Barbanera told The Times. “Even though you don’t know the person. You feel like you do.”
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly also said Monday that he would have preferred a guilty verdict on the top charge but hopes "the fact that the person responsible for his death was convicted of it, provides some measure of comfort to the Figoski family."