Republicans in the state Legislature and leaders of law enforcement groups Tuesday took to the steps of the Capitol to slam Democrats for criminal justice reforms they say have influenced the state parole board to release New Yorkers convicted of killing a police officer.

U.S. Senate candidate Michael Sapraicone, who is running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this November, joined the rally in Albany as a campaign stop.

They said that since Democrats took control of all three branches of government in Albany, they have embraced “radical far-left” policies that they consider soft on crime, while accusing them of “shrugging off” crime victims. They also argued that these policies have led to police officers being depicted as villains.

Specifically, they said they are concerned that two individuals convicted of murdering police officers could have their release approved by the Parole Board this month. Eddie Matos is serving 25 years to life for the murder of NYPD Officer Anthony Dwyer in October 1989, while Mitchell Martin killed NYPD Officer James Whittington in 1982.

“Law-abiding New Yorkers and the police officers who protect them have been disregarded and disrespected by Democrats who have used their monopoly on power in Albany to create a state of lawlessness,” said state Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt. “The families of Officers Dwyer and Whittington and too many others like them have suffered every single day for decades knowing their loved one is gone, then they are made to relive the pain every time these monsters come up for parole. They sadly know full well that members of the Parole Board who support their release will be praised by some of the very people whose job it is to make laws."

Along with Ortt, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, Patrick Phelan, Executive Director of the New York Association of Chiefs of Police and Sheriff Craig Dumund, the president of New York State Sheriff’s Association, and others, argued that proposals such as “Elder Parole” and the “Fair and Timely Parole Act,” will add to the 41 individuals they say have been released in New York since 2017, despite being in prison for murdering a police officer.

“It is deeply concerning and unacceptable that the New York State Board of Parole has repeatedly granted parole to individuals who have committed the heinous crime of killing a police officer. Their decisions wholly disregard the sacrifices made by law enforcement and their families. This sets a terrible precedent for New York and undermines the safety of our communities and trust in our justice system. Our Conference has been in full support of legislation that would strengthen oversight of the parole board and mandate life without parole for the murder of a police officer, which Democrats have inexcusably ignored. Furthermore, we demand the parole board re-evaluate their decision-making process and prioritize public safety,” said Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay.