NEW YORK — Dueling rallies were held Friday on the controversial decision to release convicted cop killer Herman Bell from prison.
Bell was a member of the radical Black Liberation Army who killed Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini after luring them to a Harlem housing project with a phony 911 call. Jones died instantly from a single shot. But Piagentini was shot 22 times after begging for his life.
Bell was captured and convicted in 1971 and has been behind bars ever since. He is set to walk free next month after a parole board granted his release earlier this month.
"To see that this guy is getting out and my brother is not coming home, why should he walk the streets anymore?" Waverly's brother Manny Jones said.
Pat Lynch, the President of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, called for the Parole Board commissioners to be fired over the decision.
“A parole board that did not do their job, that will release a cop killer onto the street...it sent shockwaves to every one of our line of duty families," Lynch said. "There is no neighborhood that wants a cop killer on the street. If they'll kill a police officer they'll kill anyone."
But a team of civil rights leaders, lawmakers and attorneys have continued to stand behind the parole board.
“Shut up. Shut up and let justice prevail,” Councilman Charles Barron of East New York said.