BROCKPORT, N.Y. (PIX11) — The widow of an NYPD officer who was assassinated along with his partner in 1971 expressed outrage this week that paroled killer, Jalil Muntaqim, was booked by a state college to speak about his experiences as a “political prisoner.”
Diane Piagentini, the widow of Officer Joseph Piagentini, wrote to the event’s sponsor, assistant professor Rafael Outland at SUNY Brockport, and demanded they cancel it.
Piagentini noted that Muntaqim, who was known as Anthony Bottom in 1971 and was a member of the Black Panther party, showed no mercy when he and two accomplices executed Officer Waverly Jones, a Black cop, and her husband, a white cop, outside a Harlem housing complex.
“When asked why he had killed a Black officer, Bottom replied, ‘A pig is a pig,'” Piagentini noted in her letter.
Muntaqim, now 70, is slated to be the key draw at the April 6 event, which is called “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners and Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim.”
Muntaqim was quietly paroled during the pandemic in 2020, two years after one of his accomplices, Herman Bell, inspired the police community’s outrage after his parole. The third accomplice, Albert Washington, died behind bars.
Muntaqim spent nearly 50 years in prison for the brutal execution of the two NYPD officers, who had responded to a phony 911 call on May 21, 1971, near Colonial Park Houses on East 159th Street and Harlem River Drive. Muntaqim (Bottom) came to New York from California with the two other convicted killers with the goal of ambushing NYPD cops.
“While my husband lay on the ground pleading with them not to kill him, pleading he had a wife and children,” Mrs. Piagentini said in her letter, “Bottom took his service revolver and emptied it into his body. There were 22 bullet holes in his body.”
In a previous interview about the paroles, Piagentini noted Muntaqim attacked Officer Jones from behind.
“He shot him in the head and down his spine,” Piagentini said in 2018.
After then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed guidelines in 2011, commissioners sitting on the Parole Board were expected to focus more on inmates’ rehabilitative efforts in prison, including education and volunteer work with peers. Muntaqim has reportedly been living in upstate Rochester, and the president of a police fraternal group there said he didn’t believe the paroled killer had any real remorse for his actions.
“It is clear from own words in his previous blog posts that what he told the parole board were just words and nothing more,” said Michael Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association in New York City, issued a statement regarding the event, saying, “SUNY Brockport has a duty to teach its students the truth. This individual is not a hero. He was not a political prisoner. He is an unrepentant murderer who can teach nothing but how to tear our society apart through violence.”
The controversy over Muntaqim’s speaking engagement forced SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson to issue a statement to members of the college community as well:
“We do not support the violence exhibited in Mr. Muntaqim’s previous crimes, and his presence on campus does not imply endorsement of his views or past actions. However, we believe in freedom of speech,” Macpherson said. “Mr. Muntaqim joined the Black Panthers at age 16 and the Black Liberation Party at 18. In 1971, he was convicted in the killing of two New York City police officers. He spent nearly 50 years in prison for this crime before being released on parole in 2020.”
The law enforcement community noted that Officers Jones and Piagentini both served in the 32nd Precinct, the same station house where NYPD Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora were assigned in January before they were fatally shot while responding to a domestic dispute in Harlem.