Should These Cop Killers Get Parole?

The old saying goes, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” It’s a fair statement. It’s part of why a lot of people simply don’t commit crimes. They don’t want to be locked up. That’s kind of the point of punishment, after all. It’s to deter people from breaking the law in the first place.

However, part of that “time” is the possibility of parole. Basically, if you behave yourself and say the right things to the board, you get out of prison early.

When that gets ugly is when someone convicted of a particularly heinous crime faces parole, which is happening up in New York right now.

The families of two NYPD officers slain nearly 47 years ago spoke with state parole board officials Friday to oppose any release of Anthony Bottom, one of the Black Panther members convicted of murdering the cops.

Bottom, 56, who is a serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for the killings of officers Anthony Piagentini and his partner, Waverly Jones, in May 1971, comes up for an interview before the parole board the week of June 11, officials said.

Last month, the board caused a furor when it released — over the objection of NYPD officials and hundreds of thousands of members of the public — Herman Bell, a reputed Black Liberation Army member who was Bottom’s accomplice in the killing of the two cops.

Speaking with reporters outside the parole board’s Manhattan offices, Diane Piagentini said the families of the officers didn’t want a repetition of what happened in the Bell case. She was joined by her daughter Mary and Manny Jones and Gwenna Wright, the siblings of Jones.

“We are here today united, united, the Jones family and Piagentini family, to make sure that Anthony Bottom doesn’t get released,” Diane Piagentini said. “It was atrocious what the parole board did with Herman Bell last month. That man should never have been released.”

Basically, Bottom is accused of torturing and killing the two officers explicitly because they were police officers. In other words, it was violence in the name of a political ideology.

We have a term for that. It’s called “terrorism.”

Frankly, the families of the deceased officers have every reason to be upset, and I don’t blame them. Maybe I’m biased as the son of a police officer, having grown up around the police and mourning with them when they lost one of their own, but I can’t blame them in the least.

Bottom reportedly shot the officers multiple times, not due to a lack of accuracy while trying to end their life, but in ways meant to add to and prolong their suffering. This was torture. It’s brutality. It’s terrorism.

And the man responsible may well be out on the streets in a matter of months.

I’m sorry, but no. This isn’t right.

I’m sympathetic to those who have paid their debt to society. I’m not a fan of how they are continually punished for their crimes, often pushing some into recidivism. However, Bottom hasn’t paid his debt to society, in my opinion. He’s a monster who should never breath free air again.

For what it’s worth, there is a petition available. New York Assemblyman Kiernan Lalor has it up on his Twitter account right now.

Go and sign it, if you’re so inclined. I suspect you might be.

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