Lawmakers pressure Parole Board to keep cop killer in jail

Anthony Bottom, courtesy of the New York State Department of Correctional Services.

Republican legislators are calling on the state Parole Board to deny the release of a man convicted of killing two NYPD officers in the 1970s.

Anthony Bottom was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the 1971 murders of NYPD officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. Bottom was convicted alongside Herman Bell and Albert Washington.

Bottom, Bell and Washington, all members of the Black Liberation Army, lured the officers to a housing project in Harlem with a fake 911 call on May 21, 1971. The men ambushed and killed the two officers. Jones died immediately while Piagentini was shot multiple times.

Washington died in 2000 and Bell was granted parole earlier this year. Now, Republican legislators fear the parole board may free Bottom as well.

Assemblyman Kieran Lalor, R-Hopewell Junction, said that Bottom and all cop killers, should never be freed from prison.

“The third of this unholy trinity of cop killers has a parole hearing,” Lalor said.

Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, said that Bell’s release was an “affront” to all law abiding citizens and officers and should not be repeated with Bottom. Gallivan and Sen. Martin Golden, R Brooklyn, say that if released, Bottom will return to the life he lived before his conviction.

“There is no doubt in my mind he’ll be back to the things that he did before; trying to influence the minds of others to start a so called revolution,” Gallivan said.

Gallivan and Golden also say the parole board disrespected the law when granting Bell parole. They said that if the parole board followed guidelines, Bell and Bottom, would both remain behind bars.

“If incompetence was a crime, the board of parole would be facing felony charges. This is wrong and it should not be happening to the people of this great state,” Golden said.

Bottom’s parole hearing is expected to take place in June.

Legislative Gazette photo by David Tregaskis
Assemblyman Lalor is joined by other legislators to urge the state Parole Board to keep Anthony Bottom behind bars. Bottom was convicted ans sentenced to 25 years to life for the 1971 murder of two NYPD officers.