Patrick Gallivan (Facebook)
State Parole Board commissioners broke their own rules by freeing cop-killer Herman Bell, lawmakers charged Thursday.
“The parole board members who voted to release did not do their job properly, did not follow the standards in the law when they released him,” said state Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), who heads Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections Committee.
Two of three assigned parole board members voted this month to free Bell — one of three Black Liberation Army brutes who killed NYPD Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones in cold blood in 1971 — because the now elderly man is considered unlikely to re-offend.
But Gallivan says the Gov. Cuomo-assigned board is also supposed to consider whether the crime is so heinous that release will “undermine respect for the law.”
Seven prior boards found that releasing Bell “would deprecate the severity of this crime,” and Gallivan believes it clearly still does — especially given a cop-killer today would have no chance of parole.
“This clearly flies in the face of the community standard and all of the people who respect the law and their neighbors and law enforcement,” the upstate lawmaker said.
“If he were convicted today, he would be sentenced to life without parole. I mean it’s so egregious that it’s the most punishment that anyone can have for anything.”
Other lawmakers on Thursday demanded Cuomo fire the commissioners responsible, but the governor can only oust members of the board for serious infractions — not based on their decisions.
Gallivan said he would still like to hold the commissioners — who earn more than $100,000 a year — more accountable by “shining a light” on their individual voting records.
“That might hold them accountable to the public they serve,” he said. “I think they failed the public in this case.”