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Ex-militants who admit killing NY cops seek parole

By Jake Pearson Associated Press | 2/18/2014, 10:36 a.m.
Herman Bell and Anthony Bottom.

Assessments have found both men to have a low risk of returning to prison, and each claims to have family support and job opportunities awaiting them on the outside.

Perhaps most surprisingly, the son of one of the officers, Waverly Jones Jr., has written in support of their release and told the Daily News of New York last month that Bell had served decades without getting "into so much as an argument.''

Others are also pushing for the pair's release.

"If you want to talk about justice, it's been served,'' said Anne Lamb, the New York City co-chairwoman of The Jericho Movement, a group that advocates for political prisoners. "They have no reason to hold them in prison. It's not going to bring back Officer Piagentini or Officer Waverly Jones.''

Advocates for the men argue the state Parole Board is unduly swayed by the powerful Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and others who exert pressure on parole denials even after the convicts serve their minimum sentences and meet all the other criteria required for release.

But the PBA is unfazed by the criticism and since September 2012 has maintained a website that has generated about 850,000 letters urging commissioners not to release Bell, Bottom and others convicted of killing a total of some 66 city officers.

Organizers hope to reach a million letters by next week, when Bell goes before the board for a sixth time. Bottom appears for his seventh time in June.