Richard Rivera executed NYPD police officer and father of four in 1981 robbery sits on police reform advisory panel
A man who shot a police officer with the NYPD in a bar in Queens, in what was described as an “ execution-style ” murder, is now working with state police on the subject of police reform.
Richard Rivera murdered officer and father of four Robert Walsh in 1981. Walsh was off duty at the time and had a drink at the bar after his shift.
After 38 years behind bars for the crime, Rivera was released in 2019 and is now on an advisory group for Ithaca and Tompkins County, New York State as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reimagining Public Safety Collaborative.
Richard Rivera murdered officer and father of four Robert Walsh in 1981. After 38 years behind bars for the crime, Rivera was released in 2019 and is now on an advisory group for Ithaca and Tompkins County, New York.
Officer Walsh, 36, who had served in the police force for 12 years, sat at the bar with his cowboy hat on after his shift, before going home when he was shot in the robbery
The group was formed after Cuomo ordered municipalities to file police reform plans with the state in early April, in the wake of George Floyd’s death last May.
In announcing the police reform measure, he noted that if the local government failed to provide a plan, he would lose “a significant amount” of state money.
‘I know people are going to be critical,’ Rivera, 56, told me The New York Post‘I don’t know if [Walsh’s] family would find this acceptable. I have no control over that. What I can control is the way I live my life.
“I keep Officer Walsh’s memory at the highest level of police work in terms of a protector of the community, someone who cares about the community.”
Rivera was 16 in January 1981 at the time of Walsh’s murder when he along with a group of four others walked into the BVD Bar and Grill in Maspeth just after midnight to rob the place.
Officer Walsh, 36, who had served in the police force for 12 years, sat at the bar with his cowboy hat after his shift and had a drink with a colleague before going home.
He was a highly decorated officer and had received 20 awards and accolades.
Rivera is depicted as a teenager with two of his siblings
Just as the robbery started, Walsh identified himself as a cop and went looking for his gun in an attempt to stop the robbery.
But Rivera fired first and shot him in the shoulder and knocked him to the ground.
As he lay on the ground, Rivera walked over and put his gun to the officer’s head before pulling the trigger again.
“It was an execution,” said William J. Devine, first deputy police commissioner in 1981. “The officer was no longer a threat to the men. He was sentenced to death for being a police officer. ‘
Rivera was arrested two days later along with the others involved in the crime.
One of Officer Walsh’s sons hated the decision to let Rivera play a part in the future of the police force.
“We are completely shocked that the man who killed my father is being entrusted to carry out police reforms,” Robert Walsh Jr., 47, told the Post.
“My father dedicated his life to serving and protecting New Yorkers. He should be the one serving on a panel to reinvent the police force, but he never gets that chance. ‘
Richard Rivera with his wife, Kerseinya Rivera, on the day they got married while he was in prison
It’s an opinion shared by Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association.
“It’s scandalous and despicable,” said the union head. Not only has this police killer been released on parole, but now he is sitting at the table to help dismantle a police station. Did anyone expect to be honest and open-minded in his review?
The whole process has trampled on the ideals that police officers like Robert Walsh held in high esteem. It is the ultimate disrespect for his service and sacrifice. ‘
Since his release nearly two years ago, Rivera has also partnered with a homeless charity that aims to provide food and shelter to those in need.
While in prison, he claims to have found his calling in social work and was a member of the Inmate Grievance Review Committee, a group that mediates disputes between prisoners and correctional staff.
He co-founded the Prisoners AIDS Counseling and Education Program, and helped establish the Hispanic Inmate Needs Task Force, as well as an older inmate program known as Fifty PLUS according to The profession
“I feel like I live my life in a way that I think is for the betterment of those around me,” he said. ‘I live my life in a way that has honor and respect [Officer Walsh’s] memory, advocating for people who cannot advocate for themselves. ‘