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Man who killed police officer in New York City now part of police reform group in Ithaca

Concerns have been raised among some in the Ithaca-area that a convicted murderer is a member of the police reform board.

Richard Rivera, who was 16 at the time when he killed an off-duty New York City police officer, spent 39 years in prison.

He’s now 57-years-old and working to help shape Ithaca’s Police Reform plan.


Rivera spoke to NewsChannel 9, who said that the decision to participate in the community work came down to finding a way forward.

“I sit in a cell, agonizing over this deed of mine. I killed somebody, and I’m saying to myself, ‘how can I move forward?” he said during that interview. “I cannot change the past. I have to arrive at a decision, and I have to say to myself what am I going to do with my future. How am I going to move forward from here?’”

He helps homeless people, as an outreach coordinator working for the Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources of Tompkins County.

Family of the officer killed in 1981 say they were ‘completely shocked’ that Rivera was being trusted to create police reforms. To date, city officials have had no comment on the matter.



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