|Go home Mrs. Terrorist!|
|Written by APB Staff|
In Amherst, Massachusetts recently, hundreds of cops and their supporters showed up in force to protest the scheduled speaking appearance of a terrorist and a cop-killer. The demonstration was a powerful reminder of the fact that police officers never forget the loss of one of their own and the scumbag that did the murder. Thankfully the cop-killer, one Raymond Luc Levasseur, was not allowed to leave the state of Maine to make the appearance after the conditions of his parole were changed. So instead, the terrorist's ex-wife showed up. That made little difference to the law enforcement professionals and their families that made the trip.
Holding candles and signs bearing slogans including "Cop killers not welcome here" scores of police officers stood outside as former political radical Pat Levasseur took the microphone recently at the University of Massachusetts School of Management. Police from as far away as Boston and New Jersey were on campus to protest Levasseur speaking at a public university, even though she wasn't the Levasseur who first sparked the controversy.
"I'm sorry Ray isn't here and instead you've got me," Pat Levasseur said to a measly audience of about 100 people. Like most terrorists, Pat has a twisted take on her radical past and sees herself as a freedom fighter when in fact she's just a criminal. "We always were well-intentioned people," said Levasseur, who was acquitted of sedition charges along with Raymond and Thomas Manning during a 1989 trial in Springfield.
How murdering a police officer can be perceived as "well-intentioned" should explain something about the way the mind of a terrorist works. Members of the United Freedom Front were involved in a series of bombings from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s to protest U.S. policies in Central America, together with South Africa's apartheid regime. UMass held the controversial panel, "The Great Western Massachusetts Sedition Trial: Twenty Years Later," regardless of Raymond Levasseur's absence. Pat Levasseur, two defense attorneys and a jury member from the 1989 trial took questions from the small audience.
Police officers began congregating outside the Isenberg School of Management to protest three hours before the event. A UFF member killed New Jersey State Police trooper Philip Lamonaco in 1981 during a traffic stop. A member also shot at two Massachusetts State Police officers in North Attleboro following a vehicle safety check, according to the State Police Association of Massachusetts. During a press conference before the event, about 15 officers representing the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Western Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, and the New Jersey State Troopers called the event a "disgrace" to the university.
"It is shameful to have to relive this murder of Phil Lamonaco all over again because the University of Massachusetts, a public-funded institution, thought it would be a good idea to bring [Levasseur] to campus," said Robert P. Frydryk, president of the Western Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and Palmer chief of police. Members of Lamonaco's family were also present. Lamonaco's widow, Donna, son Michael, a New Jersey State trooper, and his daughter Sarah were all in attendance. The family was presented with a $2,000 donation to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund in Lamonaco's name from the UMass Police Department, proceeds from officers' wages earned while working at the event.
Donna Lamonaco stood with a contingent of police officers as she addressed reporters at the afternoon press conference. She sighed heavily before making her remarks. "He got 18 years [in prison]; I got a life sentence," Donna Lamonaco said regarding Raymond Luc Levasseur before stepping back from the microphones. For the remainder of the press event, Lamonaco held her daughter's hand. Michael Lamonaco said he was disappointed no one from the university had contacted his family prior to inviting Levasseur to campus.
"There are other ways to educate people than actually having a terrorist come to school," Lamonaco told local reporters at the event. "How are you going to glorify a terrorist in this day and age?" Some that showed up to protest felt torn between showing support for a fallen brother and the possibility of generating publicity for a cop-killer. "I'm torn between not wanting anyone here and being glad there are lots of people here. Having people here gives him (Levasseur) attention that he doesn't deserve," Northampton Police Sgt. Andrew Trushaw, who protested the event, told the Boston Herald in an interview.
"There was a time you couldn't stop a family in a car without getting nervous," said Trushaw recalling Lamonaco's death. "I think we already accomplished our mission. We kept a domestic terrorist from speaking here today," Arnie Larson, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, told reporters.
"I'm all for free speech, but there are peaceful ways to do it, like we're doing tonight, to make a change."