The widow of a slain police officer slammed the parole board Friday as it considered whether to release one of her husband’s convicted killers from prison.
Before giving testimony to the board on Anthony Bottom, Diane Piagentini compared the decision to release another of her husband’s killers, Herman Bell, to the decision not to release John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman.
“It is mind boggling that the parole board could find that the release of musician John Lennon’s murderer was incompatible with the welfare of society but the release of cop-killers isn’t,” Piagentini said in a statement. “Anthony Bottom must remain in jail for the rest of his life for what he did.”
Joseph Piagentini and his partner, Waverly Jones, were ambushed by members of the Black Liberation Army as they walked a foot patrol in the Colonial Park Houses — now the Charles Rangel Houses — at 159th St. and Harlem River Drive on May 21, 1971.
Jones was shot in the head. Piagentini was tortured and shot 22 times.
Bell and Bottom were two of the people responsible for the horrific attack.
Bell now 70 was paroled in March after 45 years in prison, sparking an outcry from Piagentini’s widow, the police unions, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner James ONeill.
Bottoms has also spent 45 years behind bars. He will appear at the parole board in November, state prison officials said.
“We are presently in court seeking standing to challenge the Parole Board’s abuse of discretion in releasing Herman Bell, who should never have been released,” Piagentini added.”The Parole Board is out of control and we need legislation to rein it in for the good of society.”
Added Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, “We accept that there is a place for the appropriate use of parole in minor crimes but it is never appropriate in the case of cop-killers or the premeditated murder of anyone. If you plan to kill someone and you do, you have given up your life of freedom for the life that you have ended.”