A former Weather Underground militant has been granted parole 40 years after taking part in the infamous Brink's armored car robbery that left two policemen and a security guard dead, it was announced Tuesday.
David Gilbert, 77, will be released by Nov. 30, the New York Department of Corrections said. He had been convicted of taking part in the ambush, which was planned by the Black Liberation Army.
Gilbert was granted a parole hearing after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., commuted his 75-years-to-life sentence, The New York Times reported.
The disgraced Cuomo did so in one of his final acts as governor before leaving office amid numerous sexual harassment allegations. Gilbert otherwise would not have been eligible for parole until 2056.
The families of the Brink's victims lashed out at Cuomo's Aug. 23 decision.
"I think it's an atrocity," Mary Crowley, the sister of slain Nyack police Sgt. Edward O'Grady, told the New York Post at the time. "I think it was his final nod to how he feels about the people of New York."
San Francisco’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Gilbert’s son, praised the parole board’s decision Tuesday in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.
"I'm thinking about the other children affected by this crime and want to make sure that nothing I do or say further upsets the victims' families," Boudin’s statement read. "Their loved ones will never be forgotten. And I am thinking of the other people inside who have worked so hard to transform their lives and hope one day to return home."
The Parole Board’s decision to release Gilbert was criticized by local politicians and by one man who survived it.
"This was a terrible injustice by Governor Cuomo," said Arthur Keenan Jr., a retired Nyack, N.Y., police detective wounded in the shootout, the Times reported.
The chief executive of Rockland County, where the attack occurred, blasted the parole board’s decision.
"[It’s] a cruel and unjust slap in the face to the families," executive Ed Day, a Republican, said, the Times reported. "[Cuomo] should be ashamed for allowing this domestic terrorist to walk free."
Nearly $1.6 million in cash was stolen from an armored Brink's car outside the Nanuet Mall near Nyack, New York, on Oct. 20, 1981.
At his sentencing in 1983, Gilbert refused to apologize for his actions.
"The rulers, the rich and their armed mercenaries are the only lives valued by this court," he said then while reading from a prepared statement, the Times reported. "We say that if they sentence us to 1,000 years or shoot us at dawn tomorrow, it will not save this social system."
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