Last Wednesday police hit a man standing out on the ledge of his apartment building naked with a Taser in an effort meant to be to get him down. The New York Post said that Iman Morales was swinging a fluorescent light bulb from his second floor perch when one of the officers fired his stun gun hitting Morales.

“When they Tasered him, he froze and pitched forward. He fell on his head,” said witness Ernestine Croom. “They didn’t put out a mattress or a net or anything.”

Police received a 911 call that they responded to and tried for 20 minutes to talk the man down. New York police Lt. Michael Pigott made the decision to give the order to fire the Taser. 5000 volts of electricity temporarily incapacitated Morales who then fell headfirst 10 feet to the sidewalk. He died soon after. The police think that it was the actual fall that killed him but an autopsy report was inconclusive.

The next day it was determined that the use of the Taser was an apparent violation of departmental guidelines, which prohibit using it “in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface.”

Pending an investigation in the matter, Pigott was reassigned by the Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to the motor vehicle fleet in Queens and placed on modified duty, with his gun and shield taken from him.

Pigott had appeared stoic earlier this week and he did attend NYPD-mandated counseling sessions and the only comment he made was to a Newsday reporter. “I am truly sorry for what happened to Mr. Morales. I feel terrible about what happened to the man,” said Pigott. That was all he would say about the incident but he did add that his career would never be the same again.

On Thursday morning before sunrise, Pigott slipped away from his home without anyone knowing he was leaving, drove to his former command in Brooklyn and killed himself with a single gunshot to his head. He took a 9-millimeter Glock from another officer’s locker and committed suicide with it. Authorities found a photo of his wife and children nearby him along with a suicide note. He didn’t want his family to see him arrested sources said, and he didn’t want anyone to blame Officer Nicholas Marchesano, the officer that was ordered to fire the Taser at Morales.

Other police officers that were involved in this case said that Pigott was worried that he could lose his job and be indicted. “The lieutenant was deeply distraught and extremely remorseful over the death of Iman Morales in Brooklyn last week,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. “Sadly, his death just compounds the tragedy of the loss of Mr. Morales.”

Jan Barrett

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