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  • Writer's pictureKieran M. Lalor

Domestic Terrorist Who Killed 3 Cops to Speak at SUNY, Hailed As “Political Prisoner"

SUNY Brockport announced that on April 6, 2022, it will be hosting a seminar on the “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim”

The announcement states, “Jalil Muntaqim, also known as Anthony Bottoms (sic), was born October 18, 1951, in Oakland, CA. He attended middle and high school in San Francisco, CA, and participated in AP math and chemistry programs. Jalil was a teen activist for the NAACP and joined the Black Panther Party at age 18. On August 28, 1971, he was captured along with Nuh Washington during a midnight shoot-out with San Francisco Police.”

Jalil Muntaqim's name originally was Anthony Bottom. He was one of the three Black Liberation Army members convicted of the brutal assassination of two New York Police Officers in 1971. He was also convicted in the assassination of a police officer in California.

SUNY Brockport’s announcement for the event makes no mention of Bottom’s crimes for which he was convicted. Nor does the announcement mention that Bottom does not deny his role in the murders. Moreover, the announcement certainly doesn’t include the fact that despite Bottom’s claims to be a “liberator” of black people, one of his victims was Waverly Jones, a black man.

With the country full of racial tension, on the evening of May 21, 1971, after answering a call outside a Harlem housing project near Macombs Dam Bridge, NYPD 32nd Precinct Officers Joseph A. Piagentini (aged 28) and Waverly M. Jones (aged 33) were ambushed and shot in the back multiple times. As the officers pleaded for their lives, they were brutally shot repeatedly – Piagentini was shot over 22 times alone. Both officers were killed in the planned attack by Bottom, Herman Bell and their third accomplice, Albert Washington. During the trial, Bell, Bottom and Washington (who died in 2000) claimed this violence was part of a plan of war against the United States by the radical Black Liberation Army. They were each given the maximum sentence at the time, 25 years to life.

Reforms made to the state’s parole system in 2005 prohibited serious felons, like cop killers, from ever being paroled; however, because Bell and Bottom were convicted before that time, they remained eligible for parole.

Despite protests from the law enforcement community, the victim’s families and lawmakers, Bottom and Bell were set free by Governor Cuomo’s parole in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

Cuomo’s Parole Board had to violate the law to spring Bottom and Bell. Executive Law 5 259-i(2)(c)(A), provides, “Discretionary release on parole shall not be granted merely as a reward for good conduct or efficient performance of duties while confined but after considering if there is a reasonable probability that, if such inmate is released, he will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and that his release is not incompatible with the welfare of society and will not so deprecate the seriousness of his crime as to undermine respect for law.”

Clearly, releasing an unrepentant terrorist undermines respect for the rule of law. Moreover, upon being paroled and on the eve of the 2020 election, Bottom promptly and illegally registered to vote. Felons on parole are barred from voting. The right to vote can be restored by the governor. Bottom was never issued the necessary pardon. In March 2021 a jury refused to indict Bottom despite the clear violation of the law.

By Kieran M. Lalor, Member of the New York State Assembly from Dutchess County

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