MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The man convicted of killing a Twin Cities police officer nearly 40 years ago walked out of prison Tuesday.
The state released Isaac Brown to a halfway house.
Brown served 37 years behind bars for shooting Minneapolis police officer Richard Miller in 1981.
Miller was just months shy of retirement when he died in the line of duty. The officer’s widow did not want Brown freed.
Nearly four decades later, Miller’s boss, former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza, remembers the day the officer died clearly.
“Telephone call, I was working,” Bouza said. “It was late in the evening and an officer has been shot. Those are about the worst words that any police chief can hear.”
He remembers the funeral, he remembers the pain, but says it’s time for healing.
“A ghastly and horrible tragedy, I will never forget, a horrible crime,” he said. “Isaac Brown has paid the price, he has spent 37 years in prison. If he has rehabilitated himself and confronted his crime, and admitted it and acknowledged it, he ought to be released because justice ought to be tempered with mercy.”
Bouza supports the release of Brown to a work-release program.
“I’m a great believer in justice, and I’m also a great believer in mercy,” he said.
But to another fellow officer, there’s a different view.
“He murdered a police officer in cold blood, no ifs, ands or buts,” said retired Lt. Mike Sauro.
He was nearby at the 4th Precinct the night Miller was killed.
He says Miller was kind and giving, a devoted father and a volunteer to children’s charities.
“The person who murdered him deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison but with our criminal justice system, I guess that’s not the way it’s gonna be,” he said.
After Miller was killed, the law changed.
Now anyone convicted of killing an officer has no chance at parole.
Brown will be in a halfway house for at least a year, he’ll have another hearing to determine if he will be set free.
Tuesday was a very tough day for Miller’s wife. She says Brown has never offered the family any words of remorse.