The convicted killer of Police Officer Harry Ryman, a married father of five when he was gunned down in the summer of 1980 after confronting a trio of would-be car thieves, is scheduled to be released from prison shortly, to the outrage of the officer’s family and the Police Benevolent Association.
Paul Ford, 58, is the second of three men convicted of murder for his role in the Aug. 14, 1980 killing of Officer Ryman who will be released, following the parole last year of Barrington Young.
‘A Level of Evil’
Officer Ryman’s family censured the State Parole Board and Governor Cuomo after the board’s recent decision to release Mr. Ford.
“We find no rehabilitation in this level of evil,” one of Officer Ryman’s children, Margaret Ryman, said in a statement released by the PBA. “The parole of cop killers is a blatant disrespect to every officer who puts on a uniform.”
The union noted that Mr. Ford will be the 20th cop-killer paroled by New York State in just over three years.
Mr. Young, 62, was released last March. He and Mr. Ford were convicted of second-degree murder and other charges and sentenced to 26 years to life. A third man, Cornelius Bucknor, also convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 28 years to life for the shooting death of Officer Ryman, will be interviewed by the Parole Board later in March.
“It’s bad enough that this wonderful family has to live in fear of what might happen when P.O. Ryman’s killers hit the streets. But to swallow that fear while they watch their father’s sacrifice be devalued and disrespected by the State of New York―that is cruel and unusual punishment,” the PBA’s president, Patrick J. Lynch, said in a statement.
Officer Ryman, 43, was fatally wounded by one of three men who were trying to steal his neighbor’s car in Brooklyn’s Marine Park section in the middle of the night.
The officer, a 17-year cop assigned to the anti-crime unit at the 60th Precinct in Coney Island, heard a noise sometime after 3:30 that summer morning and, dressed in his pajamas and carrying his gun and badge, went outside to investigate.
Identifying himself as an officer, he confronted the men, one of whom pulled out a gun and fired. Officer Ryman returned fire, hitting Mr. Ford in the head.
The other two men then began shooting, and the officer was struck three times in the chest. He was rushed to Kings County Hospital but died shortly after that.
The three shooters also came to the hospital, Mr. Ford bleeding from his head wound. They were arrested by officers who were there awaiting word on Officer Ryman’s condition.
Dismay at Board
Officer Ryman’s four surviving children, as well as a grandson, Matthew Ryman, who joined the NYPD in 2006 and wears his grandfather’s badge, number 24227, have made victim-impact statements at each parole hearing for the killers.
But Margaret Ryman said those did not appear to have much influence with the Parole Board.
“The victim impact statement truly bears no weight in the parole process and the Governor and his heartless Parole Board...should truly feel ashamed of themselves―but that emotion is too much to expect from the Governor or his minions. We continue to be victims, not just of the crime against our family, but by the Governor and his puppet Parole Board.”
The state Department of Correction and Community Supervision, under which the Parole Board operates, declined to address specific cases.
But board members must, by law, follow certain requirements, including due consideration of statements from victim and victims’ families, as well as an individual’s criminal history, institutional accomplishments, potential to successfully reintegrate into the community and perceived danger to public safety. They also must ensure that parole-eligible candidates meet statutorily defined standards.
Board members also must consider recommendations and opinions from district attorneys, defense counsel and sentencing courts.
The PBA actively opposes every bid for parole by someone convicted in a cop's murder.
Mr. Ford, who came before the Parole Board Feb. 9, is expected to be released March 23 from Sullivan Correctional Facility.