The city’s biggest police union is demanding a do-over of the recent parole board decision to free convicted cop killer Herman Bell.
Lawyers for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said Wednesday that they are requesting a hearing on behalf of the widow of Officer Joseph Piagentini, who was assassinated with his partner, Waverly Jones, in 1971.
The decision to free Bell should be suspended, and a new hearing be held, because of two errors in the March parole hearing, the lawyers say in a letter to officials at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, where Bell, 70, could be released on April 17.
Parole officials failed to review minutes from his 1975 sentencing hearing, and never took into account the feelings of Jones’ brother, Manny, who only learned through press coverage of Bell’s planned release.
“I join Waverly Jones’ brother and sister in the belief that Bell can get out when my Joseph comes back,” Diane Piagentini said Wednesday, in supporting the PBA effort to keep her husband’s killer behind bars.
“Why isn’t this board recognizing that even today, there are crimes that deserve the sentence of life without parole and murdering a police officer is one of them?”
Bell and two buddies, all members of the Black Liberation Army, ambushed Piagentini, 28, and Jones, 33, after luring them to a Harlem housing project with a bogus 911 call.
Jones died instantly; Bell used Piagentini’s own gun to finish him off — even as Piagentini begged for his life, pleading that his wife and two young daughters were waiting for him at home.
Bell also has a third cop’s blood on his hands. Months after the double assassination in Harlem, Bell was in San Francisco, where he killed Sgt. John Young during a BLA siege on a police station.
The decision to free Bell has outraged New York’s law enforcement community.
“It seems very strange to New York City Police Officers that this board has failed to review critical sentencing minutes that had been available to all seven prior panels that refused to release this cold-blooded killer,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said Wednesday.