The family of an NYPD cop murdered in 1981 is “completely outraged” that his paroled killer was enlisted to help draft police-reform measures under Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and wants him booted from the panel.
Relatives of Officer Robert Walsh — who was shot execution-style in a Queens bar by Richard Rivera — have launched a letter-writing campaign to have the killer removed from an advisory panel that is drafting reforms upstate as part of a Cuomo mandate.
“Our family is completely outraged and heartbroken that our father’s killer, Richard Rivera, has not only been released but was selected to be a part of the ‘Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative” that has drafted Ithaca and Tompkins County[‘s] police-reform plan,” Walsh’s family said in a statement Sunday.
“We want to make it known that his appointment to this panel was absolutely disrespectful to our father’s legacy and represents another painful tragedy for our family,” the statement said. “We cannot believe that such a misguided and irresponsible choice was made.”
The Post revealed last month that Rivera, 56, had been named to the upstate advisory panel, which was tasked with recommending police-reform measures in the wake of George Floyd’s high-profile cop-custody death in Minneapolis last year.
Asked about the controversy at the time, Rivera told The Post, “I know people are going to be critical. I don’t know if [Walsh’s] family would find this acceptable.
“I can’t control that,” he said. “What I can control is the way I’ve been living my life.”
Rivera was 16 when he and a gang of gun-toting teens burst into the BVC Bar and Grill in Maspeth on Jan. 12, 1981, where the off-duty Walsh had stopped after his shift.
Walsh, a 36-year-old, 12-year-veteran of the NYPD, identified himself as a cop and reached for his gun to foil the robbery — but Rivera shot first.
The hero cop, a father of four, lay wounded in the shoulder when Rivera walked over to him and shot him again, this time in the head.
Rivera was convicted and served 39 years in prison before his parole in 2019.
He was later appointed to the reform panel formed under a mandate by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“It’s outrageous and despicable,” NYPD PBA President Pat Lynch said in a statement Sunday of Rivera’s position on the panel. “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?” Lynch asked. “The entire process has trampled on the ideals that police officers like Robert Walsh upheld.”
Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, said in an e-mail Sunday that advisory panel members are appointed by local officials.
Officials in the Ithaca mayor’s office and the Tomkins County administrator’s office did not respond to requests for comment Sunday.