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A convicted cop-killer and historically a dangerous criminal, spent 39 years in prison following him being found guilty of killing an NYPD officer in 1981. Now that he is out of prison, he is helping reform police in upstate New York as part of a state-mandated plan launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Richard Rivera, was charged with 25 years to life after shooting and dad-of-four Robert Walsh in 1981 during a robbery bar in Queens, New York. After spending 39 years in prison, the now 57-year-old Rivera is helping to shape Ithaca’s police reform plan as a community board member. He was 16 years old when he shot and killed execution-style, an off-duty New York City Police Department officer.

The advisory group was formed after Cuomo ordered municipalities to submit police-reform plans to the state by April 1 following George Floyd’s death.

According to LocalSYR.com reports, Rivera was appointed to the position based on his community involvement and job as an outreach coordinator helping the homeless through Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources of Tompkins County.

“I know people are going to be critical,’’ killer-turned-homeless advocate Rivera, 56, told The Post on Monday when asked about the possible reaction to him sitting on the committee.

Rivera said: “I don’t know if [Walsh’s] family would find this acceptable,’’. “I can’t control that. What I can control is the way I’ve been living my life.

Now cleary, the family of Mr. Walsh, would probably not appreciate their loved one’s murderer being involved in reforming prison and policing in New York especially Walsh’s son, Robert Walsh Jr., wasn’t happy with this news saying, “We’re completely shocked that the man who murdered my father is being trusted to create police reforms,”. According to New York Post.

Walsh’s son added, “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 Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York posted a tweet disapproving of this announcement saying, “Who helped create plan to dismantle the Ithaca Police Department? The killer of NYPD hero P.O. Robert Walsh. Lynch: “It’s the ultimate disrespect to his service and sacrifice.”

This decision has still not been reversed, which is an insult to all Walsh family members and friends. It is normal to ask why a cop-killer or any murder should be on a committee to “Reimagine Public Safety” nor should he be freed from prison.

WSYR has asked the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, and the Ithaca Police Department Chief for comment on Rivera’s involvement with the reform plan and has not heard back.

The city’s police reform report will be voted on by the Ithaca Common Council on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203, the deadline for all New York Police Departments to submit their police reform plans is Thursday.

Sources: localsyr.com, mediarightnews.com, nypost.com

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