Friday, 06 December, 2019


Convicted NYPD cop killer Herman Bell set to be paroled

Herman Bell a convicted cop killer in October Convicted NYPD cop killer Herman Bell set to be paroled
Bennie Garza | 29 April, 2018, 15:14

It wasn't immediately known exactly when Bell was released Friday.

Herman Bell, 70, was released Friday from the maximum-security Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, N.Y., about a 2.5-hour drive north from New York City, after an appellate judge denied a request from a police union to keep Bell imprisoned, according to The AP.

Bell will now be supervised for life in Brooklyn unless the PBA wins a new claim to return him to prison.

His release spurred protests from law enforcement, elected officials and Piagentini's family.

While the 14-member panel said Bell's crime was "one of the most supreme assaults on society", they said his "debt has been paid to society" and granted his parole based on his age, years in prison, personal growth and remorse.

"Shame on you", Diana Piagentini, of Long Island, wrote in a statement.

"The parole board has lost their goddamn humanity to think that a murderer should walk their streets", he said.

Bell was also serving a concurrent sentence after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Sgt. John Young in San Francisco in August 1971.

A former radical who killed two New York City police officers almost a half-century ago has been released on parole after efforts to keep him in prison failed. Herman Bell emptied both of his guns.

Bell's attorney, Robert Boyle of Manhattan, said the parole board did not take the decision lightly, interviewing his client for nearly three hours instead of the 15 minutes or so for many prisoners.

Justice Koweek wrote that recourse for opponents of Mr. Bell's parole may lie in legislation, and on Friday, Patrick J. Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, called on lawmakers to "fix the broken" state parole system, close "loopholes" and "prevent other cop-killers from stepping foot outside prison walls".

Bell's supporters, including some members of Officer Jones' own family, say he's a changed man and deserves to be released.

The board told Bell there is "reasonable probability that if released, you will remain at liberty without violating the law".

Bell and two other members of the Black Liberation Army, a violent offshoot of the Black Panther movement, shot officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini in 1971, after luring them to a Harlem housing development with a bogus 911 call. Bell, now 70, was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. At least 12 of the 16 bullets hit Piagentini.

During a news conference Friday at PBA headquarters in Manhattan, union officials said they would continue their legal challenges to Bell's release.

"Cuomo did not live up to the laws that govern the parole board", she said. The judge later ruled in favor of Bell's release.

Through the PBA, Piagentini's widow, Diana Piagentini, condemned Bell's release. The PBA appealed the ruling and the case will be heard next month. "Incredibly, the governor lacks the courage to even meet with the victims' families; instead, he shirks his responsibility as he cowers behind the parole board's so-called independence".

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