A man who shot and gravely wounded an NYPD Police Officer in November 1991 will stay in prison after he was denied by the state’s Parole Board for a sixth time.
George Hill, who was convicted of attempted murder and other charges for shooting Officer Paul Freitas in Brownsville, Brooklyn in November 1991, appeared before the Parole Board Jan. 7.
According to the Daily News, Mr. Hill has earned three college degrees, including a master’s from the New York Theological Seminary, while in prison. He’s also thought of as a mentor to other prisoners, the newspaper reported.
His lawyers, Bahar Ansari, staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society, and Steven Zeidman, the co-director of the CUNY Law School Defender’s Clinic, said they were frustrated with the outcome—as well as with the board’s apparent early notification to Mr. Freitas of their decision without also being told.
“We are disappointed the Parole Board chose to ignore George Hill's many accomplishments and the man he is today, and to instead focus on events from 27 years ago and the demand for eternal punishment from law enforcement groups. We remain troubled as well by the documented leaks of information from the Board to those who oppose Mr. Hill's release,” Ms. Ansari and Mr. Zeidman said in a statement.
The Police Benevolent Association and its president, Patrick J. Lynch, who strongly opposed Mr. Hill’s release, declined to comment on the board’s action.
The day after Mr. Hill’s hearing, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan weighed in on Twitter, saying he should never be let out of prison.
“On Nov. 16, 1991, George Hill attacked our society as a whole when he ambushed NYPD Officer Paul Freitas & shot him multiple times—causing severe injuries he still suffers from today. A person who commits such an evil act should never be granted parole.”
Fled Scene, Then Fired
According to a New York Times story the day after the shooting, Officer Freitas and his partner had stopped a car early on the morning of Nov. 16, 1991 that fit the description of one involved a recent robbery. The driver was apprehended but a passenger—the then-19-year-old Mr. Hill—jumped from the car and ran. Officer Freitas gave chase and the two engaged in a shootout at Saratoga Ave. and Park Place, about a block away. Mr. Freitas was hit four times, twice in the stomach and once each in the leg and jaw.
Mr. Hill was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and weapons charges. He was sentenced to 20 years to life. He currently is incarcerated at Sing Sing, according to the Parole Board.
Mr. Hill, who was first eligible for parole in 2011, appeared before the board that year and again in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
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