Eight New York City cop-killers are up for parole between now and May, The Post has learned.
Among them is Phillip Copeland, who with three cold-blooded accomplices assassinated Officer Edward Byrne in February 1988 on the orders of a drug king, as the rookie cop sat in his patrol car while guarding the house of a witness in South Jamaica, Queens.
The murder shocked the city and became a national symbol of the blood spilled during the crack epidemic. Former President Ronald Reagan personally called the Byrne family. George HW Bush took Byrne’s badge with him to the Oval Office when he won the presidency.
The rookie was just 22 and on the force for a month when he was ambushed at the intersection of Inwood Street and 107th Avenue.
Copeland, now 56, masterminded the hit, and split $8,000 with three accomplices. He first became eligible for parole in 2013, and is scheduled to appear before the 15-member state board next month.
Co-conspirator Scott Cobb, 59, the wheelman, will make his case for freedom in May. Each was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Also up for parole next month is John Smith, 75, who gunned down Lt. Henry Schmiemann, 46, on June 20, 1974. The off-duty cop was killed on 74th Street in Queens when Smith attempted to rob Schmiemann as he walked to work. Schmiemann drew his weapon, identified himself as a cop, but Smith opened fire and drove off. The mortally injured Schmiemann — shot twice in the head — managed to return fire and hit Smith, who was arrested later that day when he sought medical attention.
Smith, who became eligible for parole in 2001, has been denied freedom repeatedly.
In December, Mitchell Martin, 64, comes up for parole. He shot and killed off-duty Police Officer James Whittington in Brooklyn on Oct. 30, 1982. Whittington was getting a haircut when he was advised that an armed Martin was harassing a woman outside. During a struggle, Martin grabbed the officer’s gun and used it to kill the 42-year-old. Martin became parole eligible in 2015.
Whittington, who was assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit, was survived by his wife and two children. A 40th-anniversary memorial ceremony was held Saturday at the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
The Police Benevolent Association is urging its members to write the parole board electronically via a tool on its website to keep the killers in jail.
“Working together, we can keep cop killers right where they should be … behind bars,” the PBA website says.
“We are dealing with an utterly broken parole system, one where cop-killers and other violent criminals are given more respect than crime victims,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch. “When police officers are murdered in the line of duty, it is not just their families and fellow cops who suffer. It is an attack on our communities, on every person who wants safe streets. We urge every New Yorker to join us in speaking up against the release of cop-killers, because every New Yorker is a victim of these heinous crimes. Our voices must be heard.”
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