by WorldTribune Staff, September 30, 2020
The New York State Board of Parole has decided to free the last of three Black Revolutionary Army members convicted of murdering two NYPD police officers in 1971, police union officials said.
Anthony Bottom, who has spent more than 43 years in prison for his role in the killing of Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones, is expected to be freed by Oct. 20.
Bottom, Herman Bell and Albert Washington were convicted of luring Piagentini and Jones to a Harlem housing project with a bogus 911 call and then shooting them dead.
After 40 years in prison, Bell was freed on parole in April 2018. Washington died in prison of liver cancer in 2000.
The board’s decision infuriated Piagentini’s widow, Diane Piagentini: “We are heartbroken to see another of Joe’s killers set free by politics. But more than anything else, we are angry,” she said in a statement.
The president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association blamed state policies for Bottom’s release.
“Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature have spent years torturing crime victims, especially the hero families of fallen police officers,” Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “They knew that changing the parole guidelines would unleash more vicious killers like Anthony Bottom back onto our streets.”
The New York Post noted in a Sept. 28 editorial:
For nearly all his first three decades in prison, Bottom remained utterly unrepentant, cynically calling himself a “political prisoner” framed by the FBI.
But the board paroled his surviving accomplice, Herman Bell, in 2018, and apparently thinks it unjust to hold Bottom to a higher standard. Indeed, it has now sprung 16 cop-killers over the last three years.
Cuomo, meanwhile, has used his own powers to grant clemency to others in prison for cop-killing terrorism. You start to wonder who the governor thinks should be left in prison.