This November these killers are eligible for parole and every two years thereafter. Their names are: Philip Copeland, Todd Scott, Scott Cobb, and David McClary. As I write this, numerous campaigns are writing to the New York State Parole Board to protest against any parole for these men.
I first met Eddie Byrne in July 1986 when we both attended the NYC Police Academy, he was in my sister company. At meal times we all gathered around the picnic table in the small pizzeria around the corner studying and quizzing each other. During Gym, when we lined up to run laps being the shortest, I would be at the rear of my platoon and Eddie being the tallest was at the front of his. Often he was on my heels pushing me to be my best and when the ranks were reversed, I paid him back in kind, often hitting the back of his sneakers to let him know I was right there.
After graduation, I went to the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn and he to the 109th in Queens. Of course promises of keeping in touch don't always get kept, but the rumor mills do let you know how friends are doing. The Sergeant's Exams were coming up in 1988 and everyone was hitting the books and we knew someone like Eddie would surely ace the exam and become a "Boss".
On that tragic February day, Eddie Bryne reported for a midnight tour of duty. It was my RDO (Regular Day Off). In the 109, a brave citizen was targeted by local drug dealers, because he dared to keep the police notified of suspicious activity in his neighborhood and had the audacity to be willing to testify against them. The witness Arjune, a Guyanese immigrant, who believed in an America based upon justice and the law, was paid back by having his home fire bombed twice and numerous threats were made against him. Meanwhile Howard "Pappy" Mason who ran the drug business in Arjune's neighborhood was convicted and sitting in prison. To intimidate the locals, Mason wanted to "ice a cop" and ordered a killing. His partner Lorenzo "Fat Cat" Nichols was implicated but never convicted in the plot. Four men, decided to act on Mason's orders and Copeland, Scott, Cobb, and McClary on two separate occasions cased the home of Arjune, but called off the hit. The first time was because the officer was a female and the second, because the officer was black.
That evening at Roll Call, Officer Byrne was assigned the Fixed Post outside of Arjune's house and given a Chevrolet Caprice that was used as the K-9 Patrol Car. In a K-9 car the rear seat is removed and a hard plastic & wire cage is installed so the Officer Handler can place the dog inside. The construction at the time was bulky and inhibited the driver and passenger side field of vision in almost all areas behind the front seat. He had limited view through the rear window. No partner was assigned to Officer Byrne and he was dispatched to the post to guard Arjune's house.
Midnight tours on Fixed Posts tend to be quiet. The mere presence of the police often serves as a deterrent to criminal activity. Officer Byrne to fill the quiet hours brought his study guide for the upcoming Sergeant's Exam. At 3:03 AM the Scott, Cobb and McClary pulled up along side Officer Byrnes Patrol car and exited. It is believed it was Todd Scott who knocked on the passenger side window for Officer Byrne's attention as David McClary creeped up on the drivers side. Scott Cobb acted as lookout and driver. Copeland directed the entire plan and took the orders from Mason. McClary fired five (5) shots into the back of Eddie Byrnes head.
Officer Byrne was rushed to Mary Immaculate Hospital where he died of his wounds. He was only 22 years old. he lived at home with his mother and father who was retired from NYPD. His brothers were also "On The Job". Eddie was going to college at night and had not yet married, but dreamed of a family of his own.
The effect of the brazen, yet cowardly murder on not just the citizens of New York City and it's police force, but on the nation was to embolden them into action against these criminals. President Ronald Reagan personally called the Byrnes Family to offer condolences. G.H. Bush carried Eddies shield when he campaigned in 1988 for the Presidency. The actions initiated by "Pappy" Mason resulted in the uniting of the community with NYPD to form TNT (Tactical Narcotic Teams) and SNEU (Street Narcotics Enforcement Units).
Eddie Byrne was a friend, a colleague and dedicated Police officer. We graduated the Police Academy together. On the night he was executed, he was studying for the Sergeant's Exam. A bright future in NYPD was extinguished. A family was devastated. Friends and colleagues were bereaved. And not just a city, but a nation was horrified by the actions of this cold blooded murderer.
Early release will never unring this bell.
To submit your letter to the NYS Parole Board click on this link:
Tell them, "You vehemently oppose the parole of the convicted killer of NYPD Police Officer Edward Byrne on Feb 26, 1988."
You will need to input the inmate's name & DIN Number and submit one form for each convict:
Scott Cobb 89A6910
Phillip Copeland 89A5229
Todd Scott 89A8015
David McClary 89A7511
Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) wrote the following to the parole board:
In 2005, Police Officer Jason Caputo found the Patrol Car Eddie was executed in, in the NYC impound lot. he rescued the vehicle and lovingly restored it. You can find more on Caputo's Caprice at: http://www.nycpba.org/publications/mag-10-09/caputo.html