Two convicted Chicago cop killers will be back on the street even though they had been sentenced to each serve at least 100 years behind bars.
That’s a decision that does not sit well with former police Superintendent Phil Cline of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, according to WBBM-TV.
“Clearly, the intent of the court was for these murderers to pay for the lives they stole with life in prison,” Cline said in a statement.
“More importantly, allowing these men to be free sends a troubling message to the families of these officers that their sacrifice and the lives of their loved ones are somehow insignificant,” he said.
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board decided Thursday to parole Johnny Veal, 68, and Joseph Hurst, 77.
Veal was convicted in the 1970 double murder of Sgt. James Severin and Officer Anthony Rizzato outside of the Cabrini-Green public housing complex. Veal was convicted along with George Knights, and sentenced to between 100 and 199 years in prison.
Although Veal will be released, Knights, 74, will remain behind bars.
Hurst was convicted in the 1967 murder of Officer Herman Stallworth. Stallworth’s partner was wounded by Hurst in the incident, which began when Hurst was pulled over for speeding.
Hurst was originally sentenced to die for his crime, but that sentence was later changed to between 100 and 300 years in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court placed a moratorium on capital punishment in 1972.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx had opposed parole for Veal, but after initially opposing it for Hurst, later changed her mind.
She called the killings of Severin and Rizzato “a cold-blooded execution.”
NOTE ••• A TRUE #RACIST PROSECUTOR IN CHICAGO ‼️
Chicago prosecutor drops opposition to parole for convicted cop killerhttps://t.co/OeCvi4MSIA
— Terry (@RowseTerry) February 25, 2021
Foxx said she “does not oppose the granting of parole” for Hurst but noted, “The victim’s family strongly objects to a grant of parole,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
In a written statement Tuesday, Foxx’s office said, “The state’s attorney’s office determined we would not oppose parole; our lack of opposition should not be construed as a show of support but rather the office’s position that we would no longer actively object.”
Some have argued that anyone who kills a police officer should never be allowed to go free.
All murders must carry the strictest of punishments. Killing a police officer undermines the safe society we enjoy because of those who wear a uniform. Cop killers should never be paroled. https://t.co/cOMopwbWbE
— Bill Bratton (@CommissBratton) May 21, 2018
Foxx has said her office will now stop the practice of weighing in on parole decisions, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
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