Convicted NYPD cop killer Herman Bell released on parole

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Tim Fleischer has more on the release of convicted NYPD cop killer Herman Bell.

Convicted cop killer Herman Bell walked out of prison a free man Friday after serving more than 40 years behind bars.

Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini were shot to death in a Harlem housing project in 1971. They had been responding to a 911 call, but it was an ambush by Bell and two other members of the Black Liberation Army.

Jones died instantly, but Piagentini was tortured and shot 22 times, murdered as he begged for his life.

Bell, now 70, was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. It was the most serious penalty in those days.

He was released from the Shawangunk Correctional Facility around 5 p.m., and it is believed he was taken from the prison in one of two vans. Upon his release to Community Supervision, Bell will be supervised in Kings County. Per his sentence, the supervision will be for life.

PBA president Patrick Lynch joined the families of the murdered police officers to protest Bell's release.

"The parole board has lost their (expletive) humanity to think that a murderer should walk their streets," he said. "I don't want a murderer in my damn neighborhood. And neither do you."

Both families presented their victim impact statements to the parole board, but they found Bell not to be a risk anymore. This was his eighth attempt at gaining parole.

"The parole board has chosen to release one of the most dangerous criminals of our time, Herman Bell," said Diane Piagentini, officer's widow. "They were assassinated only because they wore the blue uniform, no other reason."

Bell was set to be released earlier this month, but a lawsuit delayed his release until a judge threw it out.

"So now the scales of justice have been knocked off kilter," Lynch said. "There is no scale, and there is no justice."

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill also spoke out against Bell being granted parole.

"I'm obviously vehemently against his being released based on his crime," he said. "What he did to Officer Piagentini is not a crime that is worthy of parole, and he should be spending the rest of his life in prison."

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