Twenty-Two Year Old Officer Eddie Byrne Was Executed In 1988 By Killers Contracted By Jailed Drug Kingpin, While Byrne Was Protecting a Witness in His Case; Horrific Murder of Eddie Byrne Spurred Local And National Anti-Crime Programs, including “Byrne Grants” Law Sponsored By Schumer Schumer Has Successfully Rallied Against The Four Contract Killers’ Parole in the Past & With Next Round of Parole Hearings Starting This Week, Schumer Will Demand They Again Be Denied Parole This Year Schumer: In

U.S. Senator Charles. E Schumer today urged the Parole Board to deny parole to the four individuals convicted of the cold-blooded, contract killing of 22-year-old rookie officer, Eddie Byrne, in 1988. The four inmates, David McClary, Philip Copeland, Todd Scott and Scott Cobb, are scheduled to appear before the Parole Board this upcoming November. Eddie’s brother, Larry Byrne, will appear before the Board on Friday, October 24th to argue against the bid.

In 2012, Schumer, along with Officer Eddie Byrne’s brother, Larry Byrne, and PBA President Paddy Lynch, successfully argued against the murderers’ parole. Today, Schumer is urging that these four inmates, once again, be denied parole at their upcoming hearing.

“These four men committed a horrendous crime by killing a police officer who was protecting a brave citizen. It wasn’t just a ruthless murder, it was also a brazen attack on law, order and civil society, and for all that this parole bid should be denied,” said Schumer. “We must continue to send the message that if you murder a police officer, and attempt to terrorize courageous community witnesses, you will serve the maximum sentence. This horrific act galvanized neighborhood leaders and policy makers to take a stronger stand against the kind of crime that was then ripping apart our communities. In response, we passed legislation including the Byrne Grants program in 1988 and the 1994 Crime bill, which I authored, to put more cops on the streets. In memory of Officer Edward Byrne, and on behalf of his family and brother, Larry Byrne, I strongly urge the Parole Board to deny parole to these four killers this November.”

On February 26, 1988, newly recruited officer Eddie Byrne was sitting in his patrol car outside the home of a drug-case witness. While protecting the witness, Officer Byrne was shot in the head five times by gang members who were seeking $8,000 in blood money. A day before the assassination, their drug boss, Howard “Pappy” Mason, had been arrested. Mason offered up money to any thug who murdered a police officer in retaliation. These four men were sentenced 25 to life. Mason was sent away for life.

This horrific crime spurred a number of anti-crime programs across the nation. One such program was created in memoriam of Officer Byrne. The Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program provides money to local police departments to ensure that police have all the necessary tools in fight against crime. Schumer was one of the key leaders in the creation of this program. The Byrne (JAG) program has allowed local municipalities and states hire countless more police officers to protect the streets from crime. New York has used funds from the Byrne JAG program to supplement the  localities that were hurt by the recession. The program continues to maintain jobs throughout the nation and lowers the overall cost of the judicial system by spending funds on prevention and treatment to supplement funds spent on enforcement.

A copy of Schumer’s 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.  I have urged parole be denied in the past, and I write today to reiterate my position. Nothing has changed. These four inmates were convicted of the horrific crime of murdering Police Officer Edward Byrne in cold blood. They tried, and failed, to intimidate both police officers from investigating drug-related violence and law-abiding citizens from testifying against these criminals. It is hard to imagine today a city in which such crime could occur, and we have come a long way since this terrible event. But 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 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. It was a bold act of evil with the clear attempt to terrorize the community and to send a message that it was the criminal element, not law enforcement that held the upper hand in that community. But rather than achieve their goals, this tragic event only served to galvanize New York City, and the nation, to control the violent crime that was all-too-prevalent in our communities.

This horrific crime reminds all New Yorkers of the scourge that infested our city in the late 1980s. We have come a very long way from those dark days because this event pushed policy makers in Washington to pass the 1994 Crime Bill, which I authored, and 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.

While I respect the parole process, 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, therefore I strongly recommend the parole board to deny parole for these four men. We must continue to send a strong signal that you will serve the maximum time if you decide to murder a police officer and seek to terrorize law-abiding citizens who seek only to make their communities a better and safer place.


U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer


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