NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Reeling from the tragic death of Officer Peter Figoski, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched into an angry rant aimed at Congress and President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
As the officer’s family released new images of Figoski with his four daughters, the mayor said more needs to be done to stop criminals from obtaining guns like the one that killed the dedicated officer and devoted father, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Bloomberg has often attacked President Obama and Congress for not doing enough to stop the flow of illegal guns, but the cold-blooded killing of Officer Figoski seems to have given him new intensity.
“Maybe if you, you meaning every one of the people in America, including me, calls our congressman and calls our senators and calls the president and says ‘we’re not going to take it any more. You damn well better do something,’ we are not going to have any more Peter Figoskis,” Bloomberg said.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks with more on the story
The mayor, whose staff was able to purchase illegal guns on Craigslist, including an illegal Ruger P95 9 millimeter, like the one that killed Officer Figoski, had a suggestion about how to get Congress to move.
“Maybe you show a picture of Peter Figoski with his daughters,” Bloomberg said.
The investigation targeted 125 gun dealers in 14 states. Seventy-seven of the sellers investigated agreed to sell guns to buyers who could not pass a background check. Private dealers are not required to conduct background checks prior to a sale, but it is illegal for them to sell firearms to anyone that they believe would not pass one.
The mayor didn’t stop there. He also excoriated the judges who at various times let out the five men allegedly involved in the Figoski killing, even though their criminal resumes are littered with muggings, larcenies, drug possession and trespassing
Lamont Pride, the man who allegedly shot the cop, was wanted in North Carolina for another shooting.
“The reason he was not behind bars the last time was that a judge here in New York not only didn’t put him behind bars, he didn’t even think it was appropriate for bail and he had a long history of not showing up,” Bloomberg said.
Now, that judge, Evelyn LaPorte, who is widely respected among attorneys and known to be fair, has become part of the story.
CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis tried to get a comment from her on Wednesday night, but was unsuccessful. There was no answer at her Brooklyn apartment.
But a court transcript from her arraignment of Pride on a misdemeanor drug arrest in Coney Island last month shows how she refused to hold him by setting bail.
Prosecutor: “Lamont Pride has an outstanding warrant in North Carolina for a shooting.
Judge LaPorte: “What happened in North Carolina?”
Prosecutor: “Lamont Pride was involved in a shooting.”
Judge LaPorte: “People, are you asking for bail?”
Prosecutor: “Yes… for defendant Pride, $2,500. He has an active bench warrant from North Carolina. He also has a prior New York warrant with a North Carolina record.”
Judge LaPorte: “And anything recovered from Pride, Lamont?”
Judge LaPorte: “I’m not going to set bail on any of these two people.”
Bloomberg said he thinks the judge made a huge mistake.
“If you’re talking about somebody who the rap sheet in front of you shows is a potentially dangerous person, has a gun, has a criminal history, common sense says don’t let him out.”
“We shouldn’t have to wait for the assassination of a president or the killing of a police officer to dismantle a conduit bringing illicit guns into this city,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly added.
But New York defense attorney Stuart Slotnick knows Judge LaPorte and said she had no way of predicting Pride’s future.
“The judge is fair, and she’s well regarded, and this is an awful situation and an awful tragedy,” Slotnick told CBS 2’s Dennis. “You know there are a lot of bad guys that go through the criminal justice system and it’s impossible to tell which bad guys are gonna do really bad things.”
The mayor asked New Yorkers to keep Officer Figoski in their prayers and he pointed out that people are killed by illegal guns in every state and every city.
Since Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King were killed in 1968, there have been more than 400,000 people killed with illegal guns — more than were killed in World War II.
Do you think the mayor is right? Leave your thoughts below…