Police Commissioner James O'Neill is speaking out after a convicted cop killer was granted parole.
Herman Bell took part in a 1971 ambush that killed two New York City police officers. He shot and killed Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini after luring them to an area near a housing project in Harlem by placing a phony 911 call. Piagentini was shot 22 times, including with his own service weapon, as he pleaded for his life
“The officers were drawn into a trap for the purpose of killing them and fomenting social unrest. It was a horrific assault on the basic underpinnings of our society,” Commissioner O’Neill said.
Bell maintained his innocence for years, until admitting his role in the killings in 2012. O’Neill criticized the decision to release him, calling it “indefensible.”
“It trivializes and condones and premeditated assassinations of NYPD Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. It also reopens the wounds suffered not just by these heroic officers’ relatives, but by the entire law enforcement community and all of civil society,” O’Neill said.
Bell could be released from prison next month.
“My position is simple: We don’t have the death penalty in New York, but there has to be something more permanent than eventually getting released if you murder a police officer,” O’Neill said.
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