Less than a week after Rockland gathered to commemorate Peter Paige, Sgt. Edward O’Grady, and P.O. Waverly Brown-the three men who lost their lives attempting to apprehend a group of domestic terrorists who commandeered a Brinks armored bank 1981, the last of the participants in the deadly attack has been granted parole.
David Gilbert, former member of the Weather Underground and the man tasked with driving the truck the terrorists used in their attempted escape, had his sentence commuted by former Governor Cuomo on August 23, the last day of the disgraced governor’s tenure in office. Cuomo’s decision left Gilbert eligible for the early release, which was granted this afternoon.
Gilbert, who chose to represent himself in court, originally received a 75-year sentence for his role in the robbery “expressed deep remorse for his role in the crime,” according to a statement from Steve Zeidman, a CUNY law school professor who has been representing Gilbert since 2019.
The parole board’s decision has been met with outrage by many of Rockland’s representatives.
“Today’s ruling by the New York State Parole Board is a cruel and unjust slap in the face to the families of Sergeant Edward O’Grady, Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige as well as the people of Rockland County. Especially given the fact that only days ago Rockland held our annual ceremony commemorating the lives of those that David Gilbert was convicted of killing 40 years ago,” wrote County Executive Ed Day. “Former Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Parole Board should be ashamed for allowing this domestic terrorist to walk free on our streets. There’s no reason that David Gilbert should not have to face the full consequences of his heinous crimes, no matter how much time has passed.”
State Assemblyman Mike Lawler has called on the entire parole board to resign and has vowed to champion new legislation to “change the makeup of the Parole Board, limit the powers of the Governor, and ensure that cop-killers remain in prison.”
Gilbert’s parole is unlikely to surprise Rocklanders, who have watched the state parole board repeatedly grant clemency to the county’s most notorious criminals which include Judith Clark, another member of the Weather Underground and an accomplice in the robbery. Gilbert is scheduled to be released on Saturday, November 30.