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Updated: July 26, 2023, 4:39 PM

Getaway driver in 1988 assassination of NYPD Officer Eddie Byrne granted parole

By Alex Oliveira

The getaway driver in the 1988 assassination of NYPD Officer Edward Byrne has been granted parole — a move the city’s police union called “especially outrageous” on Wednesday.

Scott Cobb, 60, could be released from prison as early as next month after serving 34 years behind bars for his part in the gangland execution of the rookie cop that shocked the nation at the height of the crack epidemic.

“All cop-killer paroles are infuriating,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry, “But this one is especially outrageous considering the shockwaves this crime sent through this precinct, the NYPD, the city and nation.”

Byrne was 22 and had been on the force for just a month when he was ambushed by Cobb and three accomplices while guarding the home of a witness who was planning to testify against drug kingpin Howard “Pappy” Mason.

Cobb drove the gunmen to the South Jamaica, Queens intersection where Byrne was parked in the early hours of February 26, 1988 — and distracted the officer while the killers unloaded five rounds into his head at point-blank range.

Cobb and the three other co-conspirators split an $8,000 payment for the cold-blooded murder.

Each were sentenced to 25 years to life.

Byrne’s killing struck such a chord that then-President Ronald Reagan personally called his family to offer condolences, and years later, President George Bush brought the officer’s badge with him to the Oval Office.

The NYPD commemorates the anniversary of Byrne’s death each year with a midnight ceremony at the intersection where he was killed.

“When Eddie Byrne was assassinated, it galvanized cops and the community to work together to take our streets back from these violent drug gangs,” Hendry said in a statement.

“That was Eddie Byrne’s legacy, and the insane Parole Board is tearing it to shreds,” the PBA boss added.

“New York City police officers are absolutely sickened by this parole decision, and New Yorkers who care about safe streets should be, too.”

Caught within a week of the slaying, Cobb was convicted of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

State prison records show his expected release date as August 9.

Cobb first became eligible for parole in 2013, but it was not granted previously.

In 2014, Byrne’s brother Larry joined the NYPD as its deputy chief of legal matters to keep the family’s legacy alive — and petitioned the state parole board to keep his brother’s killers behind bars.

Larry Byrne served as the family’s spokesperson and advocate for years and died in 2020 of a heart attack at 61.

The PBA told The Post Byrne’s family was devastated by Cobb’s parole being granted, but did not want to speak publicly about the decision.

The other three men convicted in Byrne’s murder — Todd Scott, David McClary, and Phillip Copeland — all remain behind bars. MClary and Copeland will be eligible for parole in the fall.

“We need you to speak up and demand that our elected leaders in Albany fix the broken parole system so that none of the other Byrne assassins go free,” Hendry said.

Up to 36 cop-killers have been paroled in by the New York Parole Board since 2017, according to data from the PBA.