NEW YORK – NYPD brass said yesterday that the two cops involved in the death of a nude, mentally unstable Brooklyn man who toppled from a ledge after being Tasered had apparently screwed up, and moved swiftly to sideline them.
The department took away Lt. Michael Pigott's gun and badge and stuck Officer Nicholas Marchesona on desk duty, authorities said. Police said Pigott ordered the victim, Inman Morales, to be Tasered by Marchesona, in apparent violation of department rules.
"The order to employ the Taser under these circumstances appears to have violated guidelines, reissued June 4, 2008, which specifically state that 'when possible, the [device] should not be used . . . in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
Morales, 35, fell 10 feet head-first off the housing of a roll-down security gate in front of his Bedford-Stuyvesant building after he was zapped Wednesday afternoon. He died at Kings County Hospital.
Pigott, 46, a 21-year veteran of the force, who had been assigned to the Emergency Services Unit since 2002, was placed on modified duty. Marchesona, 37, was placed on administrative duty.
"The Brooklyn district attorney has asked that neither officer be interviewed by the Police Department, as the investigation into this incident continues," Browne said, raising the possibility that criminal charges could be brought.
The NYPD said there have been 180 police uses of Tasers this year, and Morales was the first fatality.
Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes said, "I've seen the video. We'll take a look at the results of the police investigation." Mayor Bloomberg said he was "not sure this was handled right."