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February 23, 2024, 2:41 PM

Drug dealer suspected in infamous Black Liberation Army killing of NYPD cops gets parole: ‘Sad state of affairs’

By Larry Celona and Steven Vago

A drug dealer once suspected in the infamous killing of two NYPD cops at the hands of the Black Liberation Army was recently sprung from prison on parole, The Post has learned — a move decried by one of the officers’ widows as a “sad state of affairs.”

Robert Vickers, 74 — who was caught-on-tape bragging about dodging charges in the 1972 assassination of Officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie — walked out of an upstate lockup last month, officials confirmed.

“It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when someone like him is let out,” Laurie’s widow, 75-year-old Adelaide Laurie, told The Post in an interview this week.

Vickers’ “actions destroyed so many lives,” she said. “To this day, my life has never been the same.” 

Police believed Vickers, also known as Rashad Rahman, was one of three gunmen who sprayed bullets at the two cops from behind on a Lower East Side street, targeting the partners for being an interracial policing team.

The BLA, a black-nationalist militant organization active in the US in the ’70s and ’80s, took credit for the killing and boasted about coming after the “blue,” referring to police.

But prosecutors were unable to charge Vickers for the crime, but later said, in a letter opposing a previous bid for parole, that he was recorded boasting that while his fingerprints showed up on a bomb-making book found near the scene, “They couldn’t get me on nothing.”

Decades later in 2016, Vickers, who has denied involvement in the cold-blooded cop killing, was sentenced to 21 years behind bars for selling heroin upstate to a confidential informant — with the judge saying the Foster-Laurie slay influenced his decision.

“Mr. Vickers’ criminal career is from the bark to the core,” Albany County Judge Peter Lynch told a police-packed Albany courtroom at the sentencing, where Vickers appeared in a wheelchair.

Under surveillance for heroin trafficking, Vickers gave tips to the informant about how to get away with murder and how to make bombs, prosecutors said. 

He was caught on tape agreeing to accept money from the informant for what turned out to be a fictitious targeted hit, and even suggested buying a .22-caliber gun.

Vickers also bragged about getting in a shootout with cops in 1971 and then coldly said on tape about a police victim: “He got shot in the head…boom. Knocked his eye out. He lived.”

The state Board of Parole struck down Vickers’ 2018 request for early release, in which the convicted con claimed he was too disabled to serve the full sentence.

But on Jan. 9, Vickers was freed from the Mohawk Correctional Facility in Oneida County — after serving just eight years behind bars, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision confirmed.

Sources said Vickers was paroled to a hospice in Niagara Falls, where the DOCCS said he remains under community supervision.

“Even 52 years later, it is still infuriating that this individual managed to escape accountability for assassinating Police Officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said in a statement. 

“He should still be serving time for that crime, not to mention the crimes he committed later. He and his murderous accomplices showed no mercy when they assassinated our hero brothers. He deserves none now.”

The widow of Laurie, a 23-year-old white cop from Staten Island killed alongside his 22-year-old black partner from the Bronx, remembered her late husband as a kindhearted “good man” who was inspired to join the NYPD after serving in Vietnam. 

“He loved the city and this is what he wanted to do,” Adelaide Laurie said of her husband, noting the two were childhood sweethearts who met when they were just 12.

Asked about Vickers possibly dying in a hospice, she did not mince words. 

“I cannot say that I feel any pity or sadness for this man,” Adelaide said. 

“That’s just the way I feel, He’s a bad person.”

The grieving widow still lives in the same Staten Island home the couple bought in 1971, right before Laurie was killed. 

“I cherish every day, every moment that I got to spend with him,” she said Thursday. 

The two other shooting suspects, both BLA members, died soon after in unrelated shootouts with cops — one in New York, and one in St. Louis, with Laurie’s gun in his car.

A spokesperson for the PBA said 41 cop killers have been paroled since Dec. 2017.