Brooklyn, NY – The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) largest union has accused the New York State Board of Parole of factoring in coronavirus when they voted to grant parole to a convicted cop killer.
“The parole board has shown time and again that it cares more about criminals than crime victims,’’ NYPD Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “They need to explain whether they are also using the pandemic to justify releasing cop-killers. If they are, they’re breaking the law.”
Steven Chirse, 62, was convicted of the murder of 27-year-old NYPD Officer Angelo Brown on Jan. 31, 1984, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Officer Brown was off-duty and walking home to his apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant from a club when he slipped on ice and fell to the pavement, the New York Daily News reported.
When he fell, two men nearby saw that he had a gun and attacked him to steal it, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The suspects fled in a car and Officer Brown jumped onto its hood to try to stop them.
When the officer was thrown from the car, instead of continuing to flee, the car stopped and then-26-year-old Chirse got out, the New York Post reported.
He shot Officer Brown three times in the neck, according to the New York Daily News.
Officer Brown, a rookie serving in the 84th Precinct, died of his wounds.
Both Chirse and his accomplice were convicted and sentenced to 25 years-to-life in prison, the Officer Down Memorial Page reported.
Chirse has served 36 years in prison, and he has applied for parole six times in the past 11 years, according to the New York Post.
This time he appeared before the parole board just two days before the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) implemented “measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” including the release of non-violent felons and inmates with less than a year remaining on their sentences.
The parole board granted Chirse’s application for release on March 18, the New York Post reported.
Records showed that he has been scheduled for release from Fishkill Correctional Facility on May 4.
PBA attorneys sent a letter to DOCCS on behalf of the families of murdered police officers asking them not to release cop killers because of the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Post reported.
“[We] write to seek confirmation that any such measures were not considered in the release consideration of Inmate Chirse and for assurance that COVID-19 related issues will not be considered in upcoming parole hearings,” the letter said. “Simply stated, the Parole Board has no authority to and should not consider factors outside the statutory guidelines.”
The New York Board of Parole has denied the allegations, the New York Daily News said.
“This interview and determination was made within the normal process and was not done due to the COVID 19 pandemic,” the board defended itself in a written statement.