Dear Madam Chairman Stanford,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to express our disgust and dismay with the decision to grant parole to Anthony Bottom, DIN #77A4283.
This coward was directly involved in the murder of Patrolman Waverly M. Jones and Patrolman Joseph A. Piagentini of the New York City Police Department on 21 May 1971. Patrolmen Jones and Piagentini were shot and killed while on foot patrol in the Colonial Park House public housing complex—ambushed by members of the Black Liberation Army (BLA).
The Black Liberation Army was a violent, radical group of domestic terrorists active in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The BLA waged a violent, revolutionary campaign of terror against the U.S. government and was responsible for the murders of more than 10 police officers around the country as well as for violent attacks around the country that left many police officers wounded.
The three men responsible for murdering Patrolmen Jones and Piagentini were members of the BLA who travelled to New York City from California specifically to assassinate law enforcement officers. The killers snuck up behind them and opened fire. Patrolman Jones was struck in the back of the head and killed instantly. Patrolman Piagentini was shot 22 times and succumbed to his injuries while being rushed to the hospital.
One of the murderers stole Patrolman Jones’ weapon which was later recovered in San Francisco, California after several BLA members opened fire on a San Francisco police officer.
Two of the cop-killers, including the man you have paroled, were also convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit manslaughter in the murder of Sergeant John V. Young of the San Francisco Police Department on 29 August 1971.
These vicious murderers were arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years to life, and that’s where they deserve to spend the rest of their lives. Instead, the Board of Parole released Herman Bell, one of the killers that ended the lives of three police officers, in 2018 and has now announced that it will release another copkiller—Inmate #77A4283—next month. It is an unconscionable and inexcusable affront to justice to release a pair of killers who meticulously planned and successfully carried out assassinations against their fellow Americans simply because they wore a badge and swore an oath to uphold the peace.
Patrolman Jones had served the New York City Police Department for five years and was assigned to the 32nd Precinct. He is survived by his wife and three children. Patrolman Piagentini had served with the New York City Police Department for five years and was assigned to the 32nd Precinct. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Law enforcement officers continue to be targeted for violence and death. Eighteen percent (18%) of the officers killed by gunfire in 2019 died as a result of an ambush. So far in 2020, 233 officers have been shot in the line of duty, 36 of whom died. Thirty-three law enforcement officers have been ambushed this year in 27 separate attacks, seven of whom were killed. The lethality of these attacks would be much greater but for dramatic improvements in medical trauma science and anti-ballistic technology.
By approving the parole of this cop-killer, the Board of Parole sends the Jones and Piagentini families a very clear message—the lives of their loved ones no longer matter. It also sends another clear message to the men and women serving right now—if you are gunned down while keeping our streets, neighborhoods and schools safe, your killer will not receive justice and your family will be betrayed by a “forward thinking” parole board.
You have perpetrated a grave injustice with this decision and done genuine damage to our trust in the criminal justice system of New York.
On behalf of the more than 355,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of the Board of Parole. If you wish to discuss your failure in this matter any further, please feel free to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington, D.C. office.