New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Monday that he will not be participating in the city’s annual Puerto Rican Day parade after organizers announced they will be honoring nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was released from prison last week.
“I usually do march in most of the parades with the fraternal organizations, but I’m not going to be marching this year,” O’Neill said to the reporters, according to the New York Daily News.
“I cannot support a man who is a co-founder of an organization that engaged in over 120 bombings,” O’Neill said, referring to Lopez Rivera as a “terrorist.”
O’Neill announced his decision just as law enforcement groups, including the NYPD’s Hispanic Society and the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said they too will be skipping out on the festivities.
Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was released from the arrest last Wednesday after his 55-year sentence was commuted by former President Barack Obama, was named Procer de la Libertad — National Freedom Hero — for this year’s parade.