Updated 01/24/2013 07:52 PM
Trial Begins For Two Men Charged In NYPD Officer's Death
Opening statements were heard Thursday in the trials of two men charged in the murder of New York City Police Officer Peter Figoski, who was shot while responding to an attempted robbery in Brooklyn in December 2011. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Pointing at Lamont Pride, Brooklyn prosecutor Kenneth Taub told jurors Thursday that Pride intended to shoot and kill detective Peter Figoski to avoid getting arrested.
"One thing you're going to know: he is the guy who fired the gun," Taub said. "He is the guy who killed Peter Figoski."
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office says that in December 2011, Pride, along with four other men, were robbing a small-time marijuana dealer inside his Pine Street apartment.
When police responded to a 911 call, they say Pride shot the officer and ran. He was arrested a few blocks away.
His defense team says it was an accidental shooting.
"If we could, we would scream from a mountaintop that Mr. Pride did not intentionally kill a police officer." said defense attorney Christopher Wright.
"What you saw here today was a clown that knows he's guilty and is going to say and do anything he possibly can to say, 'I didn't intend for this to happen,'" said Pat Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "That's bull."
Hearing the opening arguments was emotional for the slain officer's parents and four daughters. It was also emotional for Paul Schaberger, whose son, police officer Allan Schaberger, was also killed in 2011.
"For the father and the mother of Officer Figoski, I really know how they feel," Paul Schaberger said. "My wife knows how they feel. My wife and Mrs. Figoski were in touch earlier in the week."
During opening arguments for another defendant, Michael Velez, prosecutors told the jury he was the getaway driver and said he knew that Pride had a gun. His defense says he's innocent.
Ariel Tejada, one of the alleged robbers, will testify against the others after he cut a deal with the prosecution to have murder charges dropped against him. He'll be sentenced for just the robbery.
The trial again the two men will continues on Monday, when prosecutors will start to present their evidence.
Although the two men are on trial at the same time, they will have two separate juries. There will be a total of 30 jury members overall.