Cuomo's Clemency Grant Of Brinks Robbery Getaway Driver In Hudson Valley Sparks Outrage

Now-former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to six people on his way out of office in Albany, drawing a backlash.

A plaque marks the spot were two Nyack police officers were killed during by a group of gunmen who had robbed a Brinks truck.

A plaque marks the spot were two Nyack police officers were killed during by a group of gunmen who had robbed a Brinks truck.

Photo Credit: Ramapo Police Department/Facebook
A memorial marks the spot where two Nyack police officers were killed following a Brinks robbery.

A memorial marks the spot where two Nyack police officers were killed following a Brinks robbery.

Photo Credit: Ramapo Police Department/Facebook

Cuomo, whose resignation officially took effect as of 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 23, commuted the sentences of four people, referred one case to the parole board, and gave another a full pardon during his final hours in office.

One of the commutations included David Gilbert, age 76, the getaway driver in the fatal 1981 Brinks Robbery in Rockland County heist after spending nearly 40 years in prison. 

He had appealed to Cuomo for an early release from a life sentence and wasn’t eligible for parole until 2056.

That case is now up to the parole board to determine whether or not to release him.

“With his actions, Andrew Cuomo has once again debased himself and the Office of the Governor of the State of New York,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a statement. “As if victimizing 11 women, including members of his own staff, was not despicable enough, his commutation of the 75-years-to-life sentence of David Gilbert is a further assault on the people of Rockland and New York State.

"Andrew Cuomo continues to focus on the well-being of murderers rather than the victims of these horrible offenses,” he added.

“My thoughts, prayers, and sympathy are with the friends and families of the victims of the 1981 Brinks robbery. As Andrew Cuomo leaves the Governor’s Office in disgrace I pledge to fight year after year to keep David Gilbert from ever being granted parole.”

Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco III also disparaged the embattled former governor for granting clemency to Gilbert.

“The disgraceful decision last evening by Andrew Cuomo to issue a last-minute commutation to David Gilbert, a self-avowed domestic terrorist who was convicted of three murders in the 1981 killings of Nyack Police Sergeant Edward J. O’Grady, PO Waverly Brown, and Brink’s Guard Peter Paige is reprehensible,” Falco stated.

“His action while leaving office in disgrace, is one last example of his disrespect for police officers who gave their lives protecting their communities and the families they left behind. David Gilbert deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison,” Falco added. “Chesa Boudin could still visit his father in prison, these families could only visit their loved one in a cemetery.”

Falco continued: “These men left behind nine children, who have had to grow up without their fathers to share life’s milestones and their many achievements.

“To tell them that one of the people responsible for the murder of their father has served enough time, or that she shouldn’t have to face the full consequences for his crimes, is in a word, unconscionable.”

Other commutations from Cuomo’s final hours:

  • Greg Mingo, age 68, was convicted of four counts of second-degree murder, robbery, burglary, and criminal possession of a weapon. He has served more than 39 of a 50 year-to-life sentence.
  • Robert Ehrenberg, age 62, was convicted of two counts of murder, robbery, and burglary. He has served more than 28 years of a 50 year-to-life sentence. While incarcerated, Ehrenberg earned an associate's degree from SUNY Sullivan, and a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College, graduating as valedictorian of his class for both degrees.
  • Ulysses Boyd, age 66, was convicted of murder, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon for an incident where he was not the gunman. He has served 35 years of a 50 years-to-life sentence while serving as a clerk for the facility branch of the NAACP, and as a DOCCS transitional services coordinator.
  • Paul Clark, age 59, was convicted of three counts of murder, attempted murder, and criminal possession of a weapon. He has served 40 years of an aggregate 58 years and 4 months-to-life sentence.
  • Lawrence Penn, age 51, who pleaded guilty to falsifying business records in 2015 and has been incarcerated for two years, was pardoned by the outgoing governor.

“These clemencies make clear the power of redemption, encourage those who have made mistakes to engage in meaningful rehabilitation, and show New Yorkers that we can work toward a better future," Cuomo said in a statement.

"I thank all the volunteer attorneys representing clemency applicants for their dedication and service to justice.”

Release Aging People in Prison Campaign director Jose Saldana said in a statement that “while our heart breaks for those who did not receive good news today, we double down on our commitment to keep fighting for their freedom.”

“Despite what happened tonight, the fact remains that incoming Governor Kathy Hochul will inherit an indefensibly racist and brutal prison system and we are hopeful that she will lead our state toward a more humane system of justice for marginalized New Yorkers by using her clemency powers and championing parole reform.”

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