The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association announced Jan. 11 that it will oppose the eighth bid for parole by Herman Bell, one of three members of the Black Liberation Army who assassinated Police Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini in 1971.
“Herman Bell and his two murdering colleagues laid in wait for any two police officers to respond to a phony call for help with the intent of murdering them,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement.
‘Ignored Officer’s Pleas’
“When POs Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones responded, they stepped up behind them and shot them, killing PO Jones instantly. PO Piagentini was wounded on the ground and pleaded for his life, telling his attackers that he had two young daughters to live for. Bell and his partners then emptied both officer’s guns into PO Piagentini, who died on his way to the hospital. That kind of evil cannot be rehabilitated.
“Had Bell been convicted of the same crime today, he would have been sentenced to life without the chance of parole, which was not an option when he was convicted. Herman Bell, who also killed San Francisco police Sgt. John Young, continues to be a danger in prison and should never be released to threaten the good people of NYC again.”
The two officers were killed at a Harlem housing project May 21, 1971. The BLA has been blamed for the murder of 13 police officers nationwide, including five from the NYPD.
Mr. Bell, now 70, has the right to seek parole every two years, the union said. Every two years, the PBA and Officer Piagentini’s widow, Diane, make statements to the board in opposition.
A Burden on Families
“This statutory rule forces the families of murdered police officers to relive the pain and suffering of their loved ones’ death over and over just to remind the parole board of the damage caused by these callous, cold-blooded murders,” the PBA said.
The union routinely opposes parole applications filed by convicted killers of city police officers.
One of the other two shooters, Albert Washington, died in prison. The second one, Anthony Bottom, remains in prison.
Mr. Lynch said the PBA has an electronic petition here, open to the public, for people who want to keep cop-killers in prison.