NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

In Letter To Cuomo, O'Neill Slams Parole Board Over Impending Release Of Cop Killer

April 22, 2018 - 11:45 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill is fighting to the end to stop the killer of two police officers from walking out of prison later this week.

As WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp reported, Herman Bell is set to be paroled this Friday at age 70.

Last month, the New York State Parole Board granted parole to Bell and two other members of the Black Liberation Army who were convicted of luring two NYPD officers with a bogus 911 call and killing them back in 1971 at a Harlem public housing complex.

Officer Waverly Jones died instantly from a single shot to the back of the head. The other officer, Joseph Piagentini, was shot 22 times as he begged for his life.

In a new letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that was obtained by the New York Daily News, O’Neill slammed the Parole Board’s decision to free Bell.

He wrote that the board “failed grievously,” and added that for officers nationwide, “Your sacrifices can and will be forgotten.”

Cuomo also opposes parole for Bell, but does not have the power to block it.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association told WCBS 880 it will seek a temporary restraining order after a judge tossed a lawsuit this past week by Piagentini’s widow. It would have forced the board to hold a new hearing.