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Getaway driver in Figoski death cleared

Michael Velez (l. to r.), Nelson Morales, Kevin Santos, Lamont Pride and Ariel Tejada appear in Brooklyn Supreme Court in 2011 to face charges in the death of Police Officer Peter Figoski. AP Photo/John Roca, Pool
TimesLedger Newspapers

OZONE PARK - The man accused of acting as the getaway driver for a robbery that led to Officer Peter Figoski’s slaying was cleared of all charges in Brooklyn Supreme Court, the New York Post reported Thursday.

The newspaper said Michael Velez of Ozone Park was found not guilty of burglary and murder in connection with the Dec. 12 shooting in East New York. According to the Post, Velez contended he did not know there was a robbery taking place and was merely giving his friends a ride.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly responded to the verdict.

“When juries fail to comprehend the monstrous scale of a police officer’s murder, they fail society itself,” he said. “God help us if other gunmen and their getaway drivers take comfort in these verdicts because when a police officer is murdered, society at-large is struck a mortal blow. It’s shameful that the family of Peter Figoski must be crushed again by another incomprehensible verdict.”

The man who fatally shot Figoski in the face that night, Lamont Pride, was convicted of second-degree murder earlier this week.

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