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February 11, 2024, 5:04 PM

Man convicted of killing of rookie NYPD officer has been denied parole

By Associated Press

A man convicted in the notorious drug-related killing of a rookie New York City police officer at the height of the city’s crack epidemic decades ago has been denied parole, a union representing NYPD officers said Sunday.

Todd Scott had been serving 25 years to life for his role in the shooting death of Officer Edward Byrne in Queens. Byrne was killed in 1988 as he sat in his police cruiser guarding the home of a witness in a drug case.

Police said Scott was part of a crew of four men paid $8,000 to kill the 22-year-old officer, who was just weeks on the job, in retaliation for the arrest of drug dealer Howard “Pappy” Mason.

The NYPD said Scott walked up to the passenger side window of Byrne’s car and distracted the officer while another man shot him five times in the early morning hours of Feb. 26, 1988. Police mark the moment each year with a solemn ceremony at the intersection where Byrne died.

Scott was convicted of second-degree murder and has been serving his sentence at the maximum-security state prison in Shawangunk. He has been eligible for parole since 2013, but with his latest denial won’t be eligible again until August 2025, according to the state corrections department’s online inmate database.

Spokespersons for the agency didn’t respond to a call seeking comment Sunday, and it couldn’t immediately be determined if Scott had a lawyer.

Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement that the union was “relieved” Scott was denied parole. The union said it also will continue to oppose the release of two others convicted in the killing.

David McClary and Phillip Copeland are scheduled to appear before the parole board in April and November, respectively, according to the union. Scott Cobb, who police said was the driver in the slaying, was paroled last year.

“We need New Yorkers to keep sending a message to the Parole Board: if you murder a New York City police officer, you must live out the rest of your days in a prison cell,” Hendry wrote.

Byrne’s brother Kenneth Byrne said in a statement that the “best way” to honor his brother’s sacrifice was to continue to show there is “no redemption for those who kill police officers.”

“They tried to make an example of Eddie, sending a message to the police and the public that they ruled the streets,” he said. “It’s very comforting to know that message wasn’t reinforced this time around.”