NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association on Thursday called on the public to oppose parole for two men who were convicted in the 1971 murders of two NYPD officers.
The PBA said Anthony Bottom – now known as Jalil Abdul Muntaqim – and Herman Bell have admitted to the May 21, 1971 murders of officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini after denying any role for many years, “in a transparent bid to win parole.”
The union said Bottom, Bell and a third now-deceased defendant, Albert “Nuh” Washington, waited for any two NYPD officers to respond to a bogus call for help at the Colonial Park Houses public housing development in Harlem. They then fired at the backs of Jones and Piagentini when they responded, the PBA said.
“Jones, who was married and the father of two, died immediately of four shots to the back of the head,” the PBA said in a statement. “Officer Piagentini who lay bleeding on the concrete sidewalk was pleading for his life for the sake of his two small daughters when the murderers took both officers’ service revolvers and fired all rounds into the young police officer who died on the way to the hospital.”
Defenders have called the three men “political prisoners,” and claimed that the evidence used against them was concocted in an attempt to take down the Black Panther Party – with which they were also associated.
The PBA said Bell and Bottom have now admitted to their roles in the murders, but “continue to claim that they are political prisoners nor have they shown any remorse for the premeditated, cold-blooded and cruel assassination of two of New York’s Finest.”
Bell is up for parole in February, and Bottom in June, the union said.
“We have just honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, a great man of peace and tremendous accomplishment, on his birthday. We learned from Dr. King that violence is never a solution to any problem,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said in the release. “The men whose parole we oppose today committed a terrible crime against society and against two families and for that, they should never be granted parole. I am convinced that they would have been sentenced to life without parole for these crimes had that sentence been an option then as it is today.”
Piagentini’s widow said in the PBA news release that she will speak to the parole board in an effort to keep the men incarcerated.
“After forty years of lying, they have finally admitted to killing my husband Joe and his partner Waverly but they have shown absolutely no remorse for their actions and refuse to accept personal responsibility for the crime,” she said in a release. “They have denied our two daughters a loving father, our two grandchildren have been denied the love and warmth of their granddad, and I have been denied a husband for our entire lives.”
But Jones’ son, Waverly Jones Jr., told the New York Daily News he believes Bell has served his time and that keeping him in prison would only be an act of revenge.
The PBA asked the public to send electronic letters to the parole board in opposition of the men’s parole requests, via its website.
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