FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Meredith Kelly
September 03, 2012 202.360.8132
SCHUMER: FIRST PAROLE HEARING FOR COLDBLOODED MURDERERS OF NYPD OFFICER EDWARD BYRNE TO BE HELD THIS FALL – SENATOR, BYRNE FAMILY, AND FELLOW OFFICERS DEMAND PAROLE BE DENIED
Twenty-Two Year Old Officer Eddie Byrne Was Executed While Protecting a Witness in 1988 By Contracted Killers Hired By Jailed Drug Kingpin
Horrific Crime Galvanized The Nation Against Rising Wave of Violence – Officer’s Death Spurred Local And National Anti-Crime Programs, Including “Byrne Grants” Law Sponsored By Schumer
Schumer: These Killers Should Never Taste Freedom Again
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, joined by Larry Byrne and fellow police officers, today called for parole to be categorically denied to the four killers of Edward Byrne, a NYPD police officer who was assassinated in 1988. The infamous case, in which the four men assassinated Officer Byrne while he was sitting in his patrol car protecting a local citizen’s house who feared retribution local drug gangs, shocked the nation and sparked a country-wide move towards more cops on the beat and tougher anti-crime laws. The four men were all convicted and received 25 years to life, and all are now up for parole. Schumer today urged the parole board to deny freedom to these four men each and every time they come before the board for a hearing.
“This cold-blooded, pre-meditated assassination of a law enforcement officer – young NYPD Police Officer Edward Byrne – who was protecting a witness against a drug kingpin, shocked the nation’s conscious, and all those who perpetrated and planned this crime should never see freedom again,” said Schumer. “We live in a nation of consequences and justice, and to allow these murderers out of prison would undermine both. To grant them even the hope of freedom would be a slap in the face to those who keep our streets safe every day, and would dishonor the memory of this heroic officer. I hope and pray that the parole board will listen to our plea today and keep those jail cells locked for good.”
“The assassination of my brother Eddie was a terrible crime and a terrible tragedy,” said Larry Byrne, brother to Edward Byrne. “In order to protect our City and all Police Officers in the future these four convicted murderers should never be granted parole.”
In the early morning hours of February 26, 1988, the four killers assassinated rookie New York City Police Officer Eddie Byrne while he was on duty in a marked police car. Todd Scott distracted Officer Byrne on the passenger side of the police car while David McClary shot Officer Byrne five times in the head at point blank range. Scott Cobb drove McClary and Todd Scott to execute Officer Byrne and picked them up to escape after Officer Byrne was assassinated. Philip Copeland directed the entire assassination plan and Copeland received the order from a jailed drug dealer, Howard “Pappy” Mason, to kill a cop. Mason had been sent back to New York State prison earlier in February 1988. Using the telephone from his New York State prison, defendant Mason ordered that a cop be killed to send a message to the cops that because he was sent back to jail, he and his violent drug gang would retaliate by killing a cop.
At the time that Officer Byrne was assassinated he was on duty in a fixed post in the 103 Precinct in South Jamaica, Queens. Officer Byrne was working the midnight to 8 am shift guarding the home of a Guyanese immigrant named Arjune. Arjune had previously called the police several times about drug dealers in his neighborhood and had agreed to testify against them. As a result, he and his family were repeatedly threatened and his home was firebombed prior to the night Officer Byrne was assassinated. To protect Arjune and his family, the NYPD established around the clock protection outside of his home with a marked police car manned by one Police Officer at all times. When the Copeland, McClary, Scott and Cobb agreed to murder a NYC Police Officer for defendant Mason they knew that a single Police Officer would be sitting alone in a marked police car on the night that they assassinated Officer Byrne.
Schumer continued: “The murder of Police Officer Edward Byrne occurred during the darkest days of New York City’s monumental struggle against crime, social disintegration and disorder, when the forces of darkness were attempting to assert an upper hand. This wasn’t just a callous, pre-meditated murder, which in and of itself was so horrible that parole should be flatly denied. It was a brazen attempt to terrorize both the decent, hard-working people who are the backbone of New York City’s neighborhoods and the brave men and women in the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line to protect them.
“Eddie’s murder galvanized our city, our state and our nation to say: Enough! We are going to take back our streets and our neighborhoods and we will not succumb to violence and intimidation. It sparked the monumentally successful Byrne grant program, that I was proud to sponsor, and put more cops on the beat and more. To now free those who committed this heinous act would fly in the face of the heroic and successful struggle to reduce crime and assert order on our streets. An effort, led by thousands of nameless heroes in the NYPD, that has saved countless lives here in New York City – and beyond,” said Schumer.
Schumer today, in a letter to the Parole Board, urged the Board to deny freedom for the four men – David McClary, Scott Cobb, Todd Scott, and Phillip “Marshall” Copeland – when they come before the board this fall and every time in the future. Schumer said that it was crucial to continue to signal that committing such a horrendous crime in the State of New York will ensure the maximum sentence.
As a result of this horrific crime, the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grants program was created to provide money to local police departments to ensure that police have all the necessary tools in the fight against crime. Schumer helped write the bill that named this invaluable program after officer Byrne. This money has allowed localities and states to hire more police officers and explore innovative programs. New York has especially benefited from Byrne JAG funds in the past as a supplement to local municipalities hurt by the declining economy.
In the letter Schumer wrote:
“These four inmates were convicted of the horrific crime of murdering Police Officer Edward Byrne in cold blood. They tried, and failed, to intimidate police officers from investigating further crack cocaine violence. It is hard to imagine today a city in which such crime could occur, and we have come a long way since this terrible crime. We must continue to signal that if you commit such a horrendous crime in the State of New York, we will ensure that you serve the maximum sentence.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Parole Board,
I write today regarding the upcoming parole hearing for inmates David McClary, Ind. No: 1662/88, NYSID# 06077561Y, DIN# 89-A-7511, Scott Cobb, Ind. No: 1662/88, NYSID# 04477037K, DIN# 89-/a-6910, Todd Scott, Ind. No: 1662/88, NYSID# 05620912Q, DIN# 89-A-8015, and Phillip “Marshall” Copeland, Ind. No: 1662/88, NYSID# 05615688H, DIN# 89-A-5229. These four inmates were convicted of the horrific crime of murdering Police Officer Edward Byrne in cold blood. They tried, and failed, to intimidate police officers from investigating further crack cocaine violence. It is hard to imagine today a city in which such crime could occur, and we have come a long way since this terrible crime. We must continue to signal that if you commit such a horrendous crime in the State of New York, we will ensure that you serve the maximum sentence.
Police Officer Edward Byrne was sitting in his patrol car on the night of February 26, 1988 protecting a local citizen’s house in South Jamaica, Queens because of fears of retribution from local drug gangs. A car pulled up alongside of the patrol car and four men jumped out. These men fired into the patrol car, and hit Officer Byrne in the head. He was only 22 years old and a rookie on the force. They were there at the instigation of a drug dealer, Howard “Pappy” Mason, who had been busted earlier that week. He wanted retribution, and these four men went after a lone police officer working late at night protecting an individual who had agreed to testify against similar drug dealers. Howard Mason was sentenced to life in prison in Federal District Court for his role and is currently serving a life sentence in United States Penitentiary Florence ADMAX where he remains in 23 hour lock down. Justice would suggest that these four killers who were the actual executioners serve the same amount of time as their boss and remain in prison for as long as he does.
This horrific crime reminds all New Yorkers of the scourge that infested our city in the late 1980s. This wasn’t just a callous, pre-meditated murder, which in and of itself was so horrible that parole should be flatly denied. It was a brazen attempt to terrorize both the decent, hard-working people who are the backbone of New York City’s neighborhoods and the brave men and women in the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line to protect them.
We have come a very long way from those dark days in part due to a program named in memoriam of Officer Byrne. The Byrne Justice Assistance Grants program provides money to local police departments to ensure that police have all the necessary tools in the fight against crime and was established shortly after Officer Byrne’s untimely death. I helped to write the bill that named this invaluable program after office Byrne. This money has allowed localities and states to hire more police officers and explore innovative programs such as drug courts. New York has especially benefited from Byrne JAG funds in the past as a supplement to local municipalities hurt by the declining economy. Byrne JAG has helped to maintain jobs while lowering the overall cost of the judicial system by spending funds on prevention and treatment to supplement funds spent on enforcement.
I respect the parole process, and therefore, I write to emphasize this indelible truth: these four men committed a horrific act. They killed a police officer who was doing his job protecting a citizen who wanted to end the violence in Queens. I strongly recommend the parole board to deny parole for these four men each and every time they come before you for a hearing. We must continue to send a strong signal that you will serve the maximum time if you decide to murder a police officer.
Charles E. Schumer