NY Parole Board Frees A Cop Killer With 'Life Sentence'
Fallsburg, NY – The New York State Parole Board has voted to release another cop killer back onto the streets.
Robert Hayes, a member of the Black Panthers who murdered New York City Transit Police Officer Sidney Thompson in 1973 at 174th Street subway station during a gunfight on the platform, could be released from prison as soon as July 24, according to the New York Post.
Officer Thompson, 37, was attempting to stop a fare evader on June 5, 1973 when the suspect’s companion, Hayes, fatally shot the officer in the head, neck, and chest.
The officer, though mortally wounded, was able to return fire and wound Hayes’ friend, whom he was initially trying to arrest, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Hayes escaped after committing the murder, and went underground for several months, the New York Post reported.
He was found secreted in a Black Liberation Army hideout on Bronx Avenue, and opened fire on five officers with a sawed-off shotgun when they tried to arrest him.
Hayes wounded two additional officers during his capture and arrest, the New York Post reported. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“So what does this mean if you killed a cop and you live long enough you’re gonna get out?” asked Prince William County Police Deputy Chief Steven Thompson, the son of the murdered hero.
Chief Thompson, who was six years old at the time of the murder, followed his father’s footsteps into law enforcement and joined the New York Police Department (NYPD) in 1990. He proudly wore his father’s shield in his memory while he served in the Bronx, the same borough that his father had protected, the New York Post reported.
Following the murders of two NYPD officers in the Bronx in 1996, Thompson left the department, outraged that neither officer’s murder had resulted in the death penalty, according to the New York Post.
“That showed to me that police officers’ lives mean nothing,” he said.
Chief Thompson moved to the Prince William County in Northern Virginia and joined the police department, where he worked his way up through the ranks and has served for 28 years, according to the New York Post.
He told the New York Post that the news was still pretty fresh to him and his family, but that they did not believe there was anything more they could do to fight Hayes’ upcoming release.
“If there’s something I can do, I would do it,” Chief Thompson said.
The state parole board has also freed three-time cop killer Herman Bell, another former Black Liberation Army member who was serving life in prison for the ambush murder of two NYPD officers, on April 27.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed 10 of the 12 members of the parole board, including Tana Agostini.
Agostini fell in love with, and married, a convicted killer named Thomas O’Sullivan while she was working as a staffer on the state assembly committee overseeing the prison system and he was still behind bars, the New York Post reported.
She worked hard to lobby the parole board for O’Sullivan’s release.
Despite the fact the murderer had made at least one escape and bitten off part of an inmate’s nose during his incarceration, O’Sullivan was paroled in 2013 due largely to the efforts of Agostini, the New York Post reported.
After his release, Agostini got her convicted-murderer husband a job working as maintenance worker for the state assembly. And then Cuomo appointed her to the parole board in 2017.
Officer Thompson’s widow Joyce told the New York Post the news about Hayes’ impending release “just broke my heart.”
“My husband was killed because he stopped somebody from jumping a turnstile,” the widow said. “My husband was killed for 15 cents.”
Two more convicted cop killers who murdered NYPD officers are due for parole hearings later this year, according to the New York Post.