WPIX: Channel 11

October 24, 2014

Brother fights to keep 4 killers of NYPD Officer Edward Byrne in prison

By Mary Murphy

NEW YORK (PIX11) – New York City was fixated on its first confirmed Ebola case Friday morning and the NYPD had heightened concerns about “lone wolves” attacking its men and women in blue, after four rookie cops were set upon by a hatchet-wielding man Thursday.

Yet the brother of slain Police Officer, Edward Byrne—who was executed by four drug thugs in 1988—doesn’t want the city to forget the significance of that event.

Larry Byrne, now the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters, spoke to PIX11 News after leaving a Parole Board hearing Friday.

The four men convicted of brazenly killing his 22 year old brother on February 26, 1988 will get their second shot at parole next month. The murder happened during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic.

Regarding 1988, Byrne pointed out, “It was a time when there were over 2,000 murders a year in the city and when a young police officer sitting in a marked police car could be assassinated by drug dealers.”

Phillip Copeland, Scott Cobb, Todd Scott, and David McClary were sent to prison for 25 years to life after splitting $8,000 on a contract hit ordered by drug enforcer Howard “Pappy” Mason.

McClary pumped five shots into Officer Byrne’s head, while Byrne sat outside the home of a drug witness on Inwood Street in South Jamaica, Queens. Prosecutors said Copeland carried the order from Mason, Scott Cobb was the getaway driver, Todd Scott distracted the officer, and McClary then delivered the deadly shots.

The murder was meant to send a message to law enforcement from cocky drug lords who thought they owned the streets.

Instead, it was a defining moment for the NYPD, which vowed to take the crack-riddled communities back, block by block, housing project by housing project.

“Every two years, we have to come back to this location,” said PBA President, Patrick Lynch, outside the New York State Parole Board office in Manhattan, “to make sure these drug terrorists never walk the street.”

Lynch pointed out that Byrne was killed in the same precinct—the 103rd—where four rookie officers were attacked Thursday, by a man swinging a hatchet at them.

Dale Thompson, a 24 year old suspect discharged from the Navy for misconduct, was fatally gunned down after hitting one officer in the arm with the hatchet and another cop in the head.

“Whether it’s 1988 or 2014, if you attack a New York City police officer, you’re raising a hand to an entire city,” Lynch said.

Byrne was appearing before the parole board to make a victim impact statement, just over a month after a retired NYPD deputy inspector announced on the Combat Jack podcast that he used to sell crack as a teenager in Queens and was pals with one of the men who went on to kill Officer Byrne.

Corey Pegues now receives a $135,000 annual disability pension. He later insisted his comments on the podcast were meant to keep other young people away from the drug world.

Byrne, as a police official, tried to stay out of the controversy. “I don’t know him personally. I think his remarks were terrible.”

But  Lynch was not shy. “If he would associate with drug dealers then, what was he doing when he was wearing a uniform?”

The four inmates convicted of killing Officer Byrne will meet parole commissioners in their respective, prison facilities next month. They’ve been in jail ever since they were captured the first week of March, 1988.

See unedited full PBA-recorded interview of Pat Lynch with Mary Murphy.