• Richard Easson

Cop Killer Recruited to Help with NY Police Reform

Just when you thought things couldn’t get crazier in the Democratic states sitting along America’s coasts, New York comes along to bring its latest one-up on them, and it’s not what you’d think.

The New York Post reported that cop killer Richard Rivera, who was convicted of murdering an NYPD police officer execution-style in 1981, was tapped to sit on a panel designed to develop police reform plans in New York State.

Obviously, police and the family of the slain officer are not happy.

The then-16-year-old Rivera was convicted on Jan. 12, 1981 for murdering Officer Robert Walsh and spent 39 years in jail for his heinous crime. He and four other teenagers attempted to rob the BVD Bar and Grill in Queens while armed.

Officer Walsh, who was 36-years-old and on the force for 12 years, was off-duty at the time of his murder. The Postexplained:

As the hero off-duty officer identified himself as a cop and reached for his gun to try to stop the robbery, Rivera shot him in the shoulder. Rivera then walked over to the officer as he lay helplessly wounded on the floor, pressed his gun to the cop's head and blasted him again, authorities said.

Rivera was released from prison in 2019. He is now sitting on a panel for Ithaca and Tompkins County to help develop a plan for police reform in Upstate New York. The panel is a product of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative executive order signed in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

The Post wrote that, according to Cuomo, the executive order requires every local government to design a plan “that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs in their community based on community input" by April 1. “If you don't do it, local government, you won't get any state funding. Period. You have to pass a law with your redesigned police force."

The son of Officer Walsh, Robert Walsh Jr., told the Post, "We're completely shocked that the man who murdered my father is being trusted to create police reforms. My father dedicated his life to serving and protecting New Yorkers. He should be the one serving on a panel to help reimagine policing, but he'll never get that chance."

President of the Police Benevolent Association, Pat Lynch, told the paper that recruiting Rivera for a seat on the panel is “outrageous and despicable.”

He is absolutely right.

He continued, "Not only did this cop-killer get paroled, but now he gets a seat at the table to help dismantle a police department. Did anybody expect him to be fair and open-minded in his review?"

Lynch further added, "The entire process has trampled on the ideals that police officers like Robert Walsh upheld. It's the ultimate disrespect to his service and sacrifice."

The panel did not respond to any requests from the Post for comment, but Rivera told the paper that he expected people to be critical of the decision.

Well, he’s got that right.