Widow of NYPD Officer Assassinated Slams SUNY for Inviting His Killer to Speak About His Experience as a ‘Political Prisoner’
Gina Martinez, Daily Mail, March 16, 2022
The widow of an NYPD officer assassinated in 1971 slammed a New York college for hosting the man convicted of killing him to talk about his experience as a ‘political prisoner’
Diane Piagentini, the widow of officer Joseph Piagentini, is demanding SUNY Brockport cancel an upcoming talk with 70-year-old Jalil Muntaqim, formerly known as Anthony Bottom, one of the men convicted of killing her husband in 1971.
SUNY Brockport assistant professor Rafael Outland is scheduled to host April 6, ‘History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim’. It is advertised as an ‘intellectual conversation’ with Muntaqim, who served nearly 50 years as a ‘political prisoner’.
The event ad mentions Muntaqim’s involvement in a 1971 shoot-out with San Francisco police officers, but does not mention his conviction in the murders of Piagentini, then 28, and his partner, Waverly M. Jones.
The event highlights Muntaqim’s AP placement in math and chemistry programs in high school as well as his activism on behalf of the NAACP as a teen and his role as an ‘avid educator’ of inmates as a prisoner.
Upon learning of the event, Piagentini wrote a letter to the event’s sponsor, demanding they cancel it, PIX 11 reported.
‘While my husband lay on the ground pleading with them not to kill him, pleading he had a wife and children,’ Piagentini wrote in her letter. ‘Bottom took his service revolver and emptied it into his body. There were 22 bullet holes in his body.’
She noted Muntaqim, known then as Bottom, showed no mercy, saying ‘a pig is a pig’ when asked why he killed a cop.
In 1971, Muntaqim was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for ambushing and killing Piagentini and Jones. Herman Bell also was sentenced, then released on parole in 2018; Albert Washington was sentenced and died in prison.
In 2018. Piagentini was featured in an ad for Republican gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro slamming then Governor Andrew Cuomo for not doing more to keep Bell behind bars.
Cuomo granted conditional pardons to every parolee in the state to restore their voting rights.
‘It betrays the trust of police families everywhere and devalues the life of my brave husband,’ Piagentini said in the 30-second ad.
At the time of the murder, the Black Liberation Army was targeting interracial ‘salt and pepper’ patrol officers.
Muntaqim and two other members of the group lured Jones, who was black, and Piagentini, who was white, to Colonial Park Houses, a public housing project at 159th Street and Harlem River Drive, with a bogus 911 call.
As the two were returning to their cruiser around 10pm, Bottom, Bell and Washington sneaked up behind them and opened fire.
Jones was struck in the back of the head and killed instantly.
The decision to host Muntaqim drew backlash from more than just Piagentini’s widow.
On Monday, New York State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt sent a letter to Macpherson, asking her to rescind Muntaqim’s invitation.
‘This proposed event on SUNY Brockport’s campus is absolutely shameful. Let’s be very clear: Anthony Bottom was not a ‘political prisoner.’ he’s a convicted cop-killer. Calling this an ‘intellectual conversation’ on a taxpayer-funded state campus is intellectually dishonest. It’s an insult,’ he said.
Macpherson said in her statement that the school does not sanction violence and that the event will go on as planned.
‘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,’ she said in a statement to the Brockport Community.
‘However, we believe in freedom of speech. Mr. Muntaqim joined the Black Panthers at age 16 and the Black Liberation Army 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.’