June 22, 2024
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NYS Parole Board Must Keep New York’s Most Dangerous Criminals Behind Bars


(Cheektowaga, NY) – Federal, state, and local Republican candidates gathered in Cheektowaga today to call for an immediate end to the New York State Parole Board’s dangerous and reckless pattern of granting release to violent felons who were convicted of murdering law enforcement officers.


Erie County Republican Chairman Michael Kracker was joined by United States Senate candidate Michael Sapraicone, State Assembly candidates Patrick Chludzinski and Marc Priore, State Senate candidate Jack Moretti, Erie County District Attorney candidate James Gardner, and Cheektowaga Town Council Candidate Tony Filipski to protest soft on crime and pro-criminal Democrat policies that have resulted in 41 cop killers being freed since 2017.  Sapraicone, Chludzinski, Priore, and Moretti are all current or former law enforcement officials.


“Law-abiding New Yorkers and the police officers who protect them have been disregarded and disrespected by Democrats who have used their monopoly on power in Albany to usher in one of the most dangerous eras in New York State history,” said Chairman Michael Kracker.  “We must put an end to this lawlessness by electing responsible, law-abiding candidates up and down the ballot that will make protecting our citizens a top priority.”


In addition to the 41 murderers already released, later this month, the Parole Board will be considering the applications of Eddie Matos and Mitchell Martin.  Matos is serving 25 years to life for throwing NYPD Officer Anthony Dwyer off a roof in October 1989, killing him.  Martin shot NYPD Officer James Whittington to death on the streets of Brooklyn in 1982.  Under Democrat proposals like “Elder Parole” and the “Fair and Timely Parole Act,” Matos, Martin, and even more notorious cop-killers would be eligible for, and likely granted, early release.


“I can remember each and every police funeral I attended as an NYPD Detective — the tears from the families and fellow police officers. The appointed parole board members who release cop-killers and the elected officials, from the Governor to the U.S. Senate, who remain silent on this issue should be ashamed of themselves. The release of 41 of these cowardly murderers is a disgusting dereliction of their responsibility to New Yorkers, the police, and the families of our fallen heroes who are serving a life sentence of sacrifice without their loved ones. Cop-killers should take their last breath behind bars — and parole board members who cannot ensure that justice for law enforcement families should resign,” stated U.S. Senate Candidate Mike Sapraicone. 


Local candidates for the state legislature emphasized that the tragic impact of the Parole Board’s terribly misguided actions is felt not just in New York City but across the entire state.   They pointed to the recent parole of the killers of Cheektowaga Police Officer David Tolsma in 1977 and New York State Trooper Emerson Dillon in 1974.  Both men were shot to death by repeat violent offenders.  Tolsma’s killer was paroled in 2020, and Dillion’s in 2017.


“David Tolsma’s life was cut tragically short at the age of 32, and his wife and 2 children were given a sentence of life without their husband and father,” said Pat Chludzinski, currently a Detective Lieutenant in the Cheektowaga Police Department where Tolsma served.  “The callous disregard for victims like David Tolsma, their families, and the safety of the residents and communities they serve is astonishing to me, and it must end.  When my colleagues and I here are elected this November, one of our first acts will be to sponsor legislation that makes cop killers no longer eligible for parole in New York State,” Chludzinski added.


“Our men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe, and it is appalling that members of the parole board can overlook the horrific crime of killing a police officer and release these criminals back into society,” said Marc Priore, who is a Lieutenant in the Erie County Sheriff’s Department.  “There is a lack of accountability on the Parole Board, and anything short of actual life without parole falls short of justice for the families of the fallen officers.  Reversing this decline in public safety will be a top priority for me,” Priore stated. 


“Governor Hochul has stated that her number one priority is to keep New Yorkers safe. If she means that, then she needs to clean house at the pro-criminal New York State Parole Board, whose decisions have grossly undermined justice and public safety,” said Senate candidate Jack Moretti, a retired New York State Trooper.  “We need a reversal of these criminal coddling policies, starting with one that would end parole for cop killers. I will proudly sponsor this legislation in the State Senate.  Those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us deserve nothing less,” Moretti added. 


Erie County District Attorney Candidate James Gardner said the District Attorney’s office needs to do more than just effectively prosecute these heinous criminals.  He believes the District Attorney can be a more vocal advocate in ensuring these felons serve their full sentence behind bars.


“Justice is not served if someone who commits such a horrific crime is eventually allowed to walk free while the victims and their families’ lives have been destroyed forever,” said James Gardner.  “Not only will I vigorously prosecute all crimes in Erie County, especially those committed against law enforcement, but I will be a strong voice telling the Parole Board why these sentences must be upheld while working with everyone here to support passage of legislation to ban parole for cop killers,” Gardner stated.


Cheektowaga Council candidate Tony Filipski emphasized that many of the state elected officials who support and enact these harmful policies start their careers in local office, making village, town, and county races critically important.  


“As a candidate for the Cheektowaga Town Board, I want to know that if I am successful, I will have State Assemblymembers, State Senators, and United States Senators who share my philosophy for keeping our town safe and who will be responsive to my concerns when I reach out to them for help,” Tony Filipski stated.  “Cheektowaga has already endured the tragedy of two police officers being killed in the line of duty in 1977, something that has haunted us for 50 years now and made even worse with one of the killers recently being paroled.  We don’t need to experience this again,” he concluded.