Edward Byrne (police officer)

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This article is about the New York City police officer. For the civil engineer, see Edward Abraham Byrne.
Edward R. Byrne
Born (1966-02-21)February 21, 1966
New York City, New York, USA
Died February 26, 1988(1988-02-26) (aged 22)
Jamaica, Queens, New York, USA
Other names Eddie
Police career
Department New York City Police Department (NYPD)
Badge number 14072
Years of service 1986 - 1988
Rank 1986 - Commissioned as a Police Officer

Edward "Eddie" R. Byrne (February 21, 1966 – February 26, 1988) was a police officer in the New York City Police Department who became well known in the United States after he was murdered while on duty.

Byrne's father had also been an NYPD officer. Byrne had joined the NYPD on July 15, 1986 and was stationed in the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens. Prior to joining the NYPD, Byrne was a NYC Transit cop.

Murder[edit]

Around 3:30 a.m, on February 26, 1988 Byrne was sitting in his marked patrol car on 107th Avenue and Inwood Street in South Jamaica, Queens. He was assigned to keep an eye on the house of a local Guyanese immigrant named Arjune who had repeatedly called the police to report on illegal activities on his street. The house had been previously firebombed on two separate occasions and the owner repeatedly threatened. Despite this recent violence, and an ongoing crime wave overtaking South Queens, Byrne was assigned to this post alone. As Byrne sat in his car another car pulled up beside him. Two men exited and one of them knocked on the passenger side window of Byrne's cruiser while a second man crept up on the driver's side and shot Byrne in the head five times with a .38 caliber pistol. Two other men acted as lookouts. Byrne was pronounced dead at a hospital. He had just turned 22 years old.[1]

It was later learned that the assailants canvassed the immigrant's house twice on preceding days before killing Officer Byrne, but decided not to kill the lone officer in the patrol car since the first officer they encountered was a young female, and the second was a black male.

The murder prompted nationwide outrage. Ronald Reagan personally called the Byrne family to offer condolences.[2] George H.W. Bush carried Byrne's badge with him on his campaign for president in 1988.[3]

The four killers were identified as Philip Copeland, Todd Scott, Scott Cobb, and David McClary.[4] All four were apprehended within a week of the murder and were all eventually convicted: Copeland, Scott and Cobb were convicted after trial of Murder in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree; McClary was convicted later as the shooter in a separate trial of Murder in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. All were sentenced to 25 years to life by Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas A. Demakos, who had presided over the trials.[5] Cobb, in a videotaped confession which was played at trial, provided graphic details of the killing and also told of the bragging of the participants in the aftermath, as well as indicating that the killing was ordered from jail by drug dealer Howard "Pappy" Mason.[6]


91st Avenue

Legacy[edit]

In honor of Police Officer Edward Byrne, 91st Avenue was renamed P.O. Edward R. Byrne Avenue.[7] Pol. Officer Edward Byrne Park in Queens was dedicated on August 3, 1995.[8] A school in the Bronx, Junior High School 101, was renamed in his honor. The Police Athletic League renamed its Queens Center the Edward J. Byrne Center and fills it year-round with quality educational and recreational programs. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program was established via the Department of Justice which directs funding to local law enforcement agencies with the primary concept being to enhance officer safety via equipment, technology and training. Additionally, the baseball field at his alma mater, Plainedge High School in North Massapequa New York is named in his honor.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marzulli, John (24 February 2008). "20 yrs. ago, a cop was shot & NYPD began crushing drug gangs". New York Daily News. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Messing, Philip (18 November 2014). "Killers who shot rookie cop 26 years ago denied parole". New York Post. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Brown, Ethan (2007). Snitch: Informants, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice. PublicAffairs. p. 32. 
  4. ^ Harshbager, Rebecca (3 September 2012). "NYPD cop killers haven’t shown remorse for 1988 death, relatives and politicians say". New York Post. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (30 March 1989). "2 Juries Convict All 3 Defendants In Queens Murder of Officer Byrne". New York Times. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Fried, Joseph P. (14 October 1988). "Officer's Killing 'a Message to Police'". New York Times. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Philbin, Tom (2011). The Killer Book of Infamous Murders. Sourcebooks. p. 29. 
  8. ^ Police Officer Edward Byrne Park
  9. ^ Nolan, Caitlin (7 May 2015). "Long Island high school baseball team honors fallen NYPD cop Brian Moore". New York Daily News. Retrieved 10 May 2015.