In the notorious Brink’s armored-car robbery in Nyack in 1981, the San Francisco District attorney, whose father helped kill two cops and a guard, is pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to commute the sentence of his father.
Chesa Boudin was 14 months old when his parents, David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, members of the Weather Underground domestic terror squad, dropped him off on Oct. 2 at a baby-sitter and helped pull off the heinous heist in Rockland County’s Nanuet.
Two Nyack police officers, Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown, as well as Brink’s guard Peter Paige, were killed at a nearby roadblock in the robbery and subsequent shooting.
In an effort to score dough to help finance their joint anti-government movement, The Underground perpetrated the crime along with the Black Liberation Army.
Among the last remaining individuals currently incarcerated in connection with the robbery is Gilbert, 76. Now his son is lobbying Cuomo, and others.
“I have known, as long as I can remember, that the most probable scenario is that my father will die in prison,” Chesa Boudin told the Associated Press.
While his struggle is personal, it also focuses as a district attorney on justice issues facing the Democrat and former public defender.
“No matter whether my father lives the rest of his life in a cage or whether he’s released to spend his few remaining years with family, we can’t undo the harm that his crime cost,” he said in a recent interview. “And we can’t bring back the men who were so wrongfully killed that day. At what point is enough enough? I don’t know.”
During his campaign, Boudin, who took office last year, said that visiting his parents in jail taught him that the criminal justice system was broken.
At the Shawangunk Correctional Center, Gilbert is currently completing a 75-year-to-life term and is due for parole in 2056.
Steve Zeidman, a lawyer and professor at the CUNY School of Law spearheading the clemency movement, argued that through an AIDS prevention programme he ran during the outbreak, Gilbert had a clean prison record and supported fellow inmates.
A high-profile supporter of his release is former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Zeidman argued that Gilbert, as one of the oldest and longest-serving prisoners in the system, was extremely vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. While his son said he has yet to obtain the vaccine, he is eligible for it. Kathy Boudin, who, by pleading guilty, escaped a tougher term, was released on parole in 2003.
In 2019, three years after Cuomo commuted her term, co-defendent Judith Clark was granted parole, based on “exceptional strides in self-development.” Zeidman also handled the case of Clark.