PBA Files Lawsuit Against Parole Board

For Immediate Release:

NYS Troopers PBA Files Lawsuit to Prevent Release of Trooper Murderer from Prison

The union representing New York State Troopers is fighting a decision by the Parole Board to release a convicted Trooper murderer from prison. This is the most recent action in the union’s efforts to oppose this parole.

The New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court on Monday against the New York State Board of Parole challenging the Board’s decision to release John Ruzas, who shot and killed Trooper Emerson J. Dillon on Oct. 24, 1974. The lawsuit seeks to stop Ruzas’s pending release from state prison and also seeks to vacate the Parole Board’s decision granting his release. Aspects of the lawsuit will be heard on Friday.

“Trooper Dillon tragically lost his life 43 years ago alone on the side of the highway. The Troopers PBA is providing valuable backup to the Dillon family in their quest for justice,” said PBA President Thomas H. Mungeer. “The Troopers PBA will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Dillon family as we have done for the last decade.”

Trooper Dillon, a husband, father of six and a 16-year veteran of the state police, initiated a traffic stop along the Thruway near Canastota, unaware the occupants of the vehicle were fleeing a jewelry store robbery. One of the passengers, Ruzas, shot Trooper Dillon in the left side of his heart, killing him. When Ruzas murdered Trooper Dillon, he was already on parole from Attica for his role in two robberies in New York City.

Ruzas was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder. Through the years, Troopers from across the state and nationwide have joined community members in sending letters of opposition to the Parole Board prior to Ruzas’s parole hearings.

Recently, a Parole Board panel issued a decision granting parole to Ruzas. This event was prefaced by a decision by Supreme Court Justice Victor Grossman of the 9th Judicial District. In essence, Judge Grossman ruled that the only opposition that could be heard by the Parole Board could only be from the victim’s family and representatives – not from the community or fellow law enforcement officers – which appeared to be arbitrary and capricious.

“The Parole Board couldn’t effectively utilize its resources because of the judge’s nihilistic decision restricting the authority to use all input, including the community’s interest,” Mungeer said. “In addition, we are extremely disappointed in the actions of the New York State Attorney General’s Office under the leadership of Eric Schneiderman, as it is opposing our quest to obtain a temporary restraining order against the release of a convicted cop killer.”

Trooper Dillon’s sacrifice to the people of New York state will never be forgotten, and the PBA will continue to advocate for him and his family.

More than 7,000 active and retired, uniformed members of the New York State Police from the rank of Trooper through the rank of Major are represented by the State Troopers PBA.