Richard Rivera, a man who murdered an NYPD cop execution-style in a Queens bar in 1981, has now been recruited to help with police reform in upstate New York as part of a state-mandated plan launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Rivera will now be sitting on a panel for Ithaca and Tompkins County as part of its “Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative.’’ This advisory group was formed after Governor Cuomo mandated that police municipalities submit reform plans by April 1st, following the death of George Floyd. When asked how he thought people might react to him sitting on the committee, he told the New York Post, “I know people are going to be critical.’’ He goes on to say that “I don’t know if [Walsh’s] family would find this acceptable,” and said that “I can’t control that. What I can control is the way I’ve been living my life.”
Rivera, who is now an advocate for the homeless, claimed that he was “holding the memory of Officer Walsh to the highest standard of policing in terms of a protector to the community, somebody who cares for the community.” However, Walsh’s family is very displeased by the position of the convicted murderer on the panel. One of the officers’ sons, Robert Walsh Jr., 47, told The Post “We’re completely shocked that the man who murdered my father is being trusted to create police reforms,” saying that “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.”
The President of the Police Benevolent Association called the move “outrageous and despicable,’’ stating that “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?” The Union Chief also said that “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.”
Rivera was 16 years old when he and four other armed teens walked into the BVD Bar and Grill in Maspeth just after midnight Jan. 12, 1981, aiming to rob the establishment. Inside, 36-year-old Officer Walsh was hanging out after finishing his shift. When the teens walked into the bar, the off-duty officer then identified himself as a cop and reached for his gun to try to stop the robbery, at this stage Rivera shot Walsh in the shoulder. He then walked over to where the wounded officer lay, pressed his gun to the officer’s head and blasted him again, according to authorities. The teen murderer spent 39 years in prison before being released in 2019.
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ARTICLE: NATHAN REID
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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