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Updated: August 22, 2023, 5:22 AM

George Acosta used his second chance to kill a cop — don’t parole him again

By Post Editorial Board

New Yorkers believe in second chances, but George Acosta already got his — and used it to shoot three cops, killing one.

It’d be insane to spring him yet again on January 1, when he becomes eligible for parole after serving 40 years behind bars.

“He shot and killed my husband while on parole, and he wants to be paroled again?” Mary Beth O’Neill, the rightly flabbergasted widow of slain Officer Thomas Ruotolo, reportedly told the Parole Board Friday.

Acosta, then 24, was out on parole the first time in 1984, after serving 41 months of a 5- to 15-year sentence for manslaughter in the slaying of a 16-year-old.

And he was already charged in a gun case and a burglary when Officer Ruotolo stopped him for a suspected moped theft.

“He should have had his parole revoked,” then-Police Commissioner Ben Ward fumed at the time. “He should have been back in jail, facing his original sentence.”

Instead, Acosta was free to fatally shoot Ruotolo in the head.

He also struck and wounded Ruotolo’s partner, Tanya Braithwaite, and an off-duty cop, Hipolito Padillo.

Then-Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola called the case grounds to abolish the entire parole system.

Acosta was sentenced to 40-to-life, yet now the Parole Board is considering letting him loose one more time.

It’s the definition of insanity — doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.

Only these results could be catastrophic.

“I beg you to keep this city safe by refusing to let George Acosta continue his life of crime,” a tearful O’Neill pleaded.

“This career criminal is living proof that when you release a cold-blooded killer from prison, he can and will kill again,” added police union boss Patrick Hendry.

“This should be an open-and-shut case for the Parole Board, but unfortunately, we have reason to be concerned,” he said.

Hendry is right: The Parole Board has sprung 36 cop killers since 2017, union officials note.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who bowed to soft-on-criminals progressives, appointed most current board members.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has tapped five, including Chairman Darryl Towns.

If they want to protect New Yorkers, they’ll make sure to keep this vicious cop-killer on ice.