Last Monday, his final day in office, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commuted the prison sentence of David Gilbert, a Jewish terrorist who was sentenced in 1983 to 75 years to life on three counts of homicide. Gilbert was a founding member of the Columbia University chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, and, according to the FBI, became a member of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist group.
I am granting clemency to 6 people.
These individuals have shown remorse, rehabilitation and commitment to their communities.
I thank all the volunteer attorneys representing clemency applicants for their dedication and service to justice. pic.twitter.com/iotA77BzzC
— Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 23, 2021
Gilbert is in prison for his role in a heist in which $1.6 million in cash was stolen from an armored car outside the Nanuet Mall near Nyack, NY. The heist was carried out by the Black Liberation Army and an offshoot of the Weather Underground, the May 19th Communist Organization.
Cuomo did not release Gilbert from prison outright but granted him a parole hearing in the coming weeks. Back in 2016, the governor commuted the 75-year sentence of Judith Alice Clark, another Jewish May 19th member, for her “exceptional strides in self-development” behind bars. Clark, who had been arrested in October 1981 and convicted of felony murder, was also granted a parole hearing by Gov. Cuomo and was eventually released.
Gilbert grew up in a Jewish family in Brookline, Massachusetts where he and his father were Boy Scouts—literally. Clark grew up in a Jewish family where both her parents were members of the American Communist Party.
Cuomo tweeted on Monday evening that Gilbert “has served 40 years of a 75-year sentence, related to an incident in which he was the driver, not the murderer.”
According to “Ambush: The Brinks Robbery of 1981,” Gilbert was the getaway driver and a lookout, sitting in a waiting U-Haul truck in a nearby parking lot, while his armed buddies met up with a Brinks truck was making a delivery. They confronted the guards and a shootout ensued, wounding guard Joe Trombino after he fired one shot, and killing his co-worker, Peter Paige. The robbers then took $1.6 million in cash and raced to the waiting U-Haul. The truck was soon stopped by a police roadblock. Two police officers, Waverly L. Brown and Edward J. O’Grady were killed in the shootout. Gilbert fled the area but was caught by the police that same day.
Needless to say, the governor’s final show of mercy did not go down well with law and order folks in his state. Arthur Keenan Jr., a retired detective who was wounded in the 1981 shootout, said, “It’s absurd,” and suggested Cuomo “is stabbing all of law enforcement in the back, and when I say all, I’m talking about federal, state, local – all across the whole country – because he’s a traitor.”
Rockland County Executive Ed Day was even less kind, saying Cuomo had “debased himself” and the office of the governor. He went on: “As if victimizing 11 women, including members of his own staff, was not despicable enough, his commutation of the 75-years-to-life sentence of David Gilbert is a further assault on the people of Rockland and New York State. Andrew Cuomo continues to focus on the well-being of murderers rather than the victims of these horrible offenses.”
Warning: the video below was produced by left-wing media outlet Democracy Now, so their coverage is disturbingly pro-terrorist. But their time line and facts are largely correct, if you can get past the Stalinism.