Last Friday, California granted parole to Sirhan Sirhan, who in 1968 gunned down Democrat presidential candidate Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, after Kennedy’s victory in the California primary.
Robert Kennedy was the brother of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated in 1963. RFK served as attorney general in his brother’s administration and gained election to the Senate in 1964. Jordanian immigrant Sirhan killed Kennedy because of the Democrat’s support for Israel. Sirhan was convicted of first-degree murder but a California parole board thinks he’s safe to release.
“I would never put myself in jeopardy again,” Sirhan told the parole board. “You have my pledge. I will always look to safety and peace and non-violence.” If the convicted murderer expressed any remorse for killing Kennedy, and a change of heart over his motive, it did not emerge in any news stories on the parole decision. Police and prosecutors wanted to keep Sirhan in prison, but there was a problem.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has barred prosecutors from attending parole hearings, even in the case of child rapist Ruben Beltran. So unlike a trial, the parole hearing is one-sided, and that surely played a role with Sirhan. If released, he could be deported to Jordan, which prompted parole board commissioner Robert Barton to wonder if Sirhan could be a lightning rod for more violence.
The convicted murderer, now 77, claimed he was “too old to get involved in the Middle East conflict.” His release requires the approval of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall on September 14. While that decision awaits, New York governor Andrew Como, on his last day in office, granted clemency to David Gilbert, a name unfamiliar to many Americans.
Gilbert (pictured above left), 76, was a member of the Weather Underground, a domestic terrorist group that, as David Horowitz explained, was created in 1969 with a formal “Declaration of War” against “Amerikka.” During the 1970s, according to an FBI report, the group claimed responsibility for 25 bombings, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol and the office of the California Attorney General.
After their revolution, as Mary Grabar recalls, the Weathermen planned to “order the reeducation of an estimated 100 million Americans and the execution of the estimated 25 million who would resist reeducation.” The Weathermen made common cause with the Black Liberation Army, a cop-hunting group, led by Joanne Chesimard, that assassinated at least six police officers in the early 1970s.
In 1981, Weather Underground terrorist Kathy Boudin participated in the $1.6 million Brinks robbery in Nyack, New York, that claimed the lives of two police officers and one guard. Weatherman David Gilbert was the getaway driver. At the time of the robbery, Gilbert’s son Chesa, named after cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, was 14 months old. With Gilbert in prison, Chesa (pictured above right) was duly adopted by Weather Underground stalwarts Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
Like mommy, Chesa Boudin believed that violent criminals were victims of an unjust capitalist society. In effect, that was Chesa Boudin’s platform in his run for district attorney in San Francisco, and in 2019 Chesa prevailed over interim DA Suzy Loftus.
“My heart is bursting,” Boudin tweeted when getting the news of Andrew Cuomo’s action. “On the eve of my first child’s birth, my dad – who’s been in prison nearly my entire life – was granted clemency. He never intended harm, yet his crime devastated many families. My heart breaks for the families that can never get their loved ones back.” That would include the families of Nyack, New York, police officers Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown, slain in the 1981 attack.
Cuomo said Gilbert only drove the getaway vehicle, which failed to register with Michael Paige, son of slain Brinks’ security guard Peter Paige. “I still can’t comprehend why the governor would commute the sentence of a domestic terrorist who was responsible for the murders of two police officers and a Brinks guard,” Paige told reporters. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, he was just a driver! These guys had an intricate plan. They had men with machine guns.”
Kathy Boudin, was granted parole in 2003 and is now a researcher and adjunct professor at the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Cop-killer Joanne Chesimard escaped prison in 1976 and fled to Cuba, which has refused to extradite her. The fugitive is now known as Assata Shakur and idolized by Black Lives Matter.
Despite Cuomo’s action, David Gilbert must still make his case to a parole board. In the meantime, voters could decide to cut loose Chesa his own self. As Ballotpedia explains, two recall efforts “allege that Boudin’s approach has led to increased crime rates.” Organizers have until October 25 to gather enough signatures to move the recall forward.
Meanwhile, conservative African American Larry Elder, seeking to replace Gavin Newsom, also supports the recall efforts for Chesa Boudin and George Gascón. When DA Kamala Harris gained election as attorney general in 2010, likely through ballot fraud, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Gascón as interim district attorney even though he had never tried a case.
In his run for district attorney of Los Angeles against African American incumbent Jackie Lacey, Gascón received support from George Soros. Recall supporters charge that Gascón has abandoned crime victims and their families and disregarded the rule of law. Recall backers must gather 579,062 signatures by October 27. That will empower voters to decide if what goes around stays around.