A man convicted of killing two NYPD officers in 1971 has been released on parole despite efforts by Senate Republicans to keep him behind bars.
“Herman Bell is a callous and depraved cop killer who took the lives of two police officers just because they wore the uniform,” Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said in a statement today.
Bell, along with Anthony Bottom and Albert Washington, were convicted for the murders of officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones in 1979. The three men were members of the Black Liberation Army who lured the officers to a housing project in Harlem with a fake 911 call. The officers were ambushed and then killed with their own guns.
Bell was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He had requested parole seven unsuccessful times since 2004. Piagentini’s widow Diane and their two daughters have appeared at each of Bell’s hearings to make their plea against his release to the parole
Bell claims to have been rehabilitated while behind bars, but Senate Republicans feel that his release is an insult to law abiding New Yorkers and disrespect for law.
“[Bell] has forfeited his ability to live outside of the four walls of a prison cell,” Flanagan said. “The members of the parole board who made this decision should be removed immediately.”