New York Post
December 21, 2011


NYPD slams Web animation of cop's slaying

By ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO
Newsday

  
  Photo credit: Patrick E. McCarthy
   

A police officer looks on at the scene of a deadly shooting in Brooklyn. An officer from West Babylon was killed. (Dec. 12, 2011)

The NYPD criticized a Web animation depicting the killing of Officer Peter Figoski as inaccurate, while defense attorneys in the case think it could impact potential jurors in the trial of five suspects.

The 30-second animation was produced by Next Media Animation, a company based in Hong Kong and Taiwan that often makes such realistic animations of high-profile U.S. court cases and public issues.

The video depicts suspects Lamont Pride and Kevin Santos confronting officers Figoski and Glenn Estrada in the basement of a residential building at 28 Pine St. in Brooklyn early Dec. 12. A narrator explains how Santos flees and was pursued by Estrada while Pride is depicted firing at Figoski, who is not seen being hit by the bullet.

WARNING: The following link contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers

Click here to watch the animation

In the animation, Pride steps around Figoski's prone body, gun in hand and flees the basement area. A bloody handprint, the origin of which is unknown, is shown on a basement wall near Figoski's body.

"Besides the dubious practice of capitalizing on a police officer's death, the animation was wrong in fundamental ways," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

While the animation showed both officers in the basement area, official accounts have Estrada on the outside while Figoski was either inside or just about to enter the structure, Browne said.

On Tuesday, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Estrada heard a single shot and turned to see Pride exit the building with a gun in his hand. Estrada then pursued and caught up with Pride, said Hynes, as the video animation depicts.

Browne also said the bloody handprint was on an outside wall, not an interior one as shown in the video.

Jenna Manula, a New York marketing coordinator for Next Media Animation, said the animation appears on the company's New York website, Big Apple Daily TV, and was based on news accounts.

"We try to make sure when we do animations that we are animating facts because there have been a few cases where animation is used in court," she said.

Manula said that as evidence develops, new videos could be created. She acknowledged that such depictions may raise emotional reactions from viewers.

Figoski, 47, of West Babylon, was buried Monday, leaving behind four daughters.

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said the video was offensive.

"While the rest of the city is generously digging deeply into its pockets to help educate the four daughters of a fallen hero police officer, this company is trying to profit from his death and that's disgusting," he said.

"Turning a tragedy like this into a kind of cartoon for entertainment or profit is simply vile."

Defense attorney Marvin Weinroth of Great Neck, who represents defendant Michael Velez, and Harold Baker, who is the attorney for Santos, thought the animation could become an issue in jury selection.

The images shows the extent of the effort to try the case in the media, Weinroth said.

"It is a terrible crime," Weinroth said. "Don't try it in the press."

The NYPD criticized a Web animation depicting the killing of Officer Peter Figoski as inaccurate, while defense attorneys in the case think it could impact potential jurors in the trial of five suspects.

The 30-second animation was produced by Next Media Animation, a company based in Hong Kong and Taiwan that often makes such realistic animations of high-profile U.S. court cases and public issues.

The video depicts suspects Lamont Pride and Kevin Santos confronting officers Figoski and Glenn Estrada in the basement of a residential building at 28 Pine St. in Brooklyn early Dec. 12. A narrator explains how Santos flees and was pursued by Estrada while Pride is depicted firing at Figoski, who is not seen being hit by the bullet.

WARNING: The following link contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers

Click here to watch the animation

In the animation, Pride steps around Figoski's prone body, gun in hand and flees the basement area. A bloody handprint, the origin of which is unknown, is shown on a basement wall near Figoski's body.

"Besides the dubious practice of capitalizing on a police officer's death, the animation was wrong in fundamental ways," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

While the animation showed both officers in the basement area, official accounts have Estrada on the outside while Figoski was either inside or just about to enter the structure, Browne said.

On Tuesday, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Estrada heard a single shot and turned to see Pride exit the building with a gun in his hand. Estrada then pursued and caught up with Pride, said Hynes, as the video animation depicts.

Browne also said the bloody handprint was on an outside wall, not an interior one as shown in the video.

Jenna Manula, a New York marketing coordinator for Next Media Animation, said the animation appears on the company's New York website, Big Apple Daily TV, and was based on news accounts.

"We try to make sure when we do animations that we are animating facts because there have been a few cases where animation is used in court," she said.

Manula said that as evidence develops, new videos could be created. She acknowledged that such depictions may raise emotional reactions from viewers.

Figoski, 47, of West Babylon, was buried Monday, leaving behind four daughters.

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said the video was offensive.

"While the rest of the city is generously digging deeply into its pockets to help educate the four daughters of a fallen hero police officer, this company is trying to profit from his death and that's disgusting," he said.

"Turning a tragedy like this into a kind of cartoon for entertainment or profit is simply vile."

Defense attorney Marvin Weinroth of Great Neck, who represents defendant Michael Velez, and Harold Baker, who is the attorney for Santos, thought the animation could become an issue in jury selection.

The images shows the extent of the effort to try the case in the media, Weinroth said.

"It is a terrible crime," Weinroth said. "Don't try it in the press."