ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR) — As police departments and communities in New York get ready to submit their police reform plans this week, concerns are being raised in Ithaca about the selection of one member of its police advisory group.
Richard Rivera was 16 years old when he shot and killed, execution-style, an off-duty New York City Police Department officer in 1981. The officer, Robert Walsh, was a father of four.
After spending 39 years in prison, the now 57-year-old Rivera is helping to shape Ithaca’s police reform plan as a community board member.
The move was slammed by the Detectives’ Endowment Association and by Rep. Lee Zeldin.
“This is shameful disrespect to the family of Officer Robert Walsh — and all who he served,” the DEA tweeted.
Zeldin called the decision to have Rivera help with police reform was “incredibly backwards.”
“This NYPD cop killer is the last person who should have this kind of influence ‘reimagining’ law enforcement departments,” Zeldin tweeted.
In an interview with WSYR, Rivera said he believes his past can help make systematic change when it comes to police reform.
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