January 23, 2014

LI widow of slain NYPD cop: Don't grant parole to killers


Photo credit: AP  

Diane Piagentini, the widow of slain police officer Joseph Piagentini, holds a photo of her husband from their wedding day in 1966 after a parole hearing to ask that the killers of her husband and his partner not be released. Robert Piagentini, the brother of the slain officer, stands at right. (Jan. 9, 2004)


The Long Island widow of an NYPD patrolman shot and killed by members of the Black Liberation Army more than 40 years ago said she will urge a parole board to keep the two surviving killers behind bars.

In a statement released Thursday by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Diane Piagentini of Deer Park said there should be no parole for Herman Bell and Jalil Abdul Muntaquim -- two of the three men convicted of gunning down her husband, Joseph Piagentini, and fellow Officer Waverly Jones on May 21, 1971, in Harlem. A third man convicted of the murders, Albert "Nuh" Washington, died while incarcerated at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility in April 2000.

"Tomorrow, I will speak with the parole board to implore them to keep these two killers in jail," Piagentini said in the statement released by the PBA. The surviving killers "have shown absolutely no remorse for their actions and refuse to accept personal responsibility for the crime."

Accounts of the shooting said Piagentini, 28, and Jones, 33, were responding to what the PBA called "a bogus call for help" at the Colonial Park Houses when Bell, Washington and Muntaquim, then known as Anthony Bottom, ambushed them as they approached the building.

Jones, a married father of two, was shot four times in the back of the head, according to the PBA. Piagentini, who had two daughters, was shot 13 times, according to an account on the website -- many of the bullets fired, the PBA said, as the officer "lay bleeding on the concrete sidewalk . . . pleading for his life."

Piagentini died en route to Harlem Hospital.

Bell is serving a sentence of 25 years-to-life at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, near Lake George. Muntaquim, also sentenced to 25-year-to-life, is incarcerated in Attica.

On his website Muntaquim called the conviction of him, Bell and Washington "a most egregious example of the failure and manipulation of the court system and democracy in the U.S. . . ."

On his website Bell talks about being born in Mississippi to parents who were sharecroppers and he cited his accomplishments while incarcerated.

Bell is up for parole consideration in February, while Muntaquim comes up for parole in June, according to the PBA.

The two can apply for parole every two years.

Newly appointed NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton said in a statement released by the PBA: "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"

And PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement Thursday there is no justification for granting parole.

"They are convicted cop-killers who will say and do anything to get out of prison," Lynch said. "They deserve no better than they gave to two young police officers who were there to help someone."