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by Peter Moskos

October 2, 2008

Lieutenant in Taser incident commits suicide

I just heard on the radio that Lieutenant Pigott, the lieutenant who, one week ago, ordered the man on the awning in Brooklyn to be Tased, shot himself. That's very sad.

The lieutenant, I believe in good faith, made a bad decision that violated departmental rules. All police officers violate departmental rules. I know I did. And not always in good faith. But I was lucky; nobody died.

Mr. Morales should not have been tased. But had I been in the same situation, it was a decision I very likely could have made. Mr. Morales, a crazed 35-year-old man, died.

After 21 years on the force, the lieutenant's life came crashing down. He caused a man's death. He was stripped of his badge and gun. He was demoted from a specialized unit he loved to a desk job in motor pool. His future, as he probably saw it, consisted of lawsuits, disgrace, and no end in sight. The NYPD threw him under a bus.

On Wednesday, the Morales family held a wake. Lieutenant Pigott apologized for what happened, saying he was "truly sorry."

On Wednesday night, the eve of Lieutenant Pigott’s 46th birthday, he gained access to another officer's gun and shot himself. He leaves a wife and three children.

It's very sad.

There's more in Newsday and the New York Times.


DJK said...

Horrible. Bad situation all around.

Louise said...

I just read the story in the NY Times and then immediately came over here to read your words. Your take on this story actually provides some meaning to such a senseless loss. Your description of Lt. Pigott's future is grim and realistic, a fate that could easily drive a depressed man to suicide.

Thank you, Pete, for your perspective here. It helped me.