Kudos to the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association for winning a temporary stay of the parole granted to three-time cop-killer Herman Bell. And the PBA’s lawsuit may succeed in fully reversing the Parole Board’s decision to spring him.
In 1971, Bell and a Black Liberation Army compatriot shot and killed two NYPD officers in Harlem after luring them with a bogus 911 call. He later murdered another cop while raiding a San Francisco police station.
For decades, Bell claimed at parole hearings that he was a “political prisoner.” Only recently has he said “it was murder and horribly wrong” — and may not mean it.
The PBA suit claims the board that voted to free Bell ignored prosecutors’ statements during Bell’s 1975 sentencing that he was “beyond redemption and can never be rehabilitated.” It also notes the board failed to obey the legal mandate to read past sentencing minutes prior to a parole decision.
Before Bell killed him, Officer Joseph Piagentini begged for his life, saying he had a wife and two young daughters. Piagentini’s widow, Diane, has slammed the parole decision as a betrayal: “Herman Bell hasn’t changed . . . he is an assassin.”
Hope the court does the right thing after it hears the PBA’s case April 13 in Albany.