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University Calls Convicted Cop-Killer ‘Political Prisoner,’ Invites Him To Speak On Race And Justice

Brockport, NY – A convicted felon who assassinated two New York police officers and spent 50 years in prison has been hailed as a “political prisoner” by the State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport, which has invited him to hold an “intellectual conversation” on campus to discuss the topics of justice and race.

Anthony Bottoms, who now goes by an alias of Jalil Muntaqim, has been invited to come to SUNY Brockport on April 6 to present “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim,” according to the university’s events calendar.

The writeup praised Muntaqim’s background as a member of the Black Panther Party and “teen activist for the NAACP,” then noted he was imprisoned for 49 years after being “captured…during a midnight shoot-out” with police in 1971.

The event summary completely neglected to mention Muntaqim was a violent member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), and that he and two accomplices assassinated New York Police Department (NYPD) Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini after using a bogus 911 call to lure them into an ambush.

Officer Jones was shot in the head from behind and died instantly, according to the New York Daily News.

Muntaqim and his fellow BLA cohorts, Albert Washington and Herman Bell, ruthlessly tortured Officer Piagentini as he told his assailants that he had a wife and two children, and begged for his life.

The trio shot Officer Piagentini 22 times.

Bell used the officer’s duty weapon to fire the fatal round, FOX News reported.

The BLA, a much more radical, violent offshoot of the Black Panthers, attacked and murdered police officers indiscriminately in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Muntaqim later told investigators he planned a subsequent attack on the Ingleside District Police (IDP) station in California, which resulted in the murder of IDP Sergeant John Young, the San Francisco Gate reported.

Although he touted himself as the mastermind, Muntaqim told police he was unable to participate in the IDP attack because he had been arrested the day prior as he attempted to murder San Francisco Police Sergeant George Kowalski, the San Francisco Gate reported.

Sgt. Kowalski’s life was spared only because Muntaqim’s weapon jammed.

Muntaqim, 70, spent nearly 50 years in prison prior to being paroled in 2020 under then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s altered parole guidelines, WPIX reported.

He was denied parole on at least nine occasions prior to his eventual release, according to FOX News.

The SUNY Brockport event description touted Muntaqim as “a grandfather, father, mentor to many, and loving human being” who “gained his freedom” after nearly five decades “as a political prisoner.”

Officer Piagentini’s widow, Diane Piagentini, wrote a letter to SUNY Brockport Assistant Professor Rafael Outland, who is sponsoring the presentation, and demanded they cancel the event, WPIX reported.

“When asked why he had killed a Black officer, Bottom replied, ‘A pig is a pig,’” Officer Piagentini’s widow wrote in her letter to Outland. “While my husband lay on the ground pleading with them not to kill him, pleading he had a wife and children, Bottom took his service revolver and emptied it into his body. There were 22 bullet holes in his body.”

She said Muntaqim has never apologized for murdering her husband, and that he only confessed to killing the officers two years ago, FOX News reported.

“We had children, we had just gotten married, all of it was gone,” Officer Piagentini’s widow said. “And he’s not remorseful for it.”

Piagentini said the university completely misrepresented the convicted cop-killer.

“They are presenting him as a political figure, and that is so untrue,” the slain officer’s widow said. “Nowhere in that bio does it say he’s a two-time cop killer. Nowhere in there does it say anything about him joining the Black Liberation Army.”

New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch released a statement denouncing SUNY Brockport’s planned event, WPIX reported.

“SUNY Brockport has a duty to teach its students the truth,” Lynch wrote. “This individual is not a hero. He was not a political prisoner. He is an unrepentant murderer who can teach nothing but how to tear our society apart through violence.”

Rochester Police Locust Club President Michael Mazzeo, who works and lives in the community Muntaqim now calls home, said the convicted cop-killer does not appear to be reformed or remorseful for his actions, WPIX reported.

“It is clear from own words in his previous blog posts that what he told the parole board were just words and nothing more,” Mazzeo asserted.

Muntaqim is a co-founder of the Jericho Movement, which has ties to antifa and subscribes to the notion that members of militant groups who were imprisoned for acts of violence against law enforcement officers were actually locked up “because of their political beliefs and acts in support of and/or in defense of freedom,” according to Campus Reform.

The school’s event webpage originally noted that partial funding for the presentation was “received from the [Promoting Excellence in Diversity] PED Grant of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” Campus Reform reported.

But as backlash about the event poured in, SUNY Brockport Chief Diversity Officer Damita Davis issued a memo to students explaining the university had “received new information” that resulted in the committee rescinding the grant, according to Campus Reform.

“No funding will be used to pay the speaker. We are not, however, cancelling the event,” Davis wrote. “Effective immediately, we will be pausing the PED grant program while a thorough review and revision of the grant application process can take place.”

SUNY Brockport Heidi Macpherson said the university does “not support the violence exhibited in Mr. Muntaqim’s previous crimes” and that his presence on campus should not be taken as the school having endorsed “his views or past actions,” Campus Reform reported.

“However, we believe in freedom of speech,” Macpherson added.

Piagentini said neither Macpherson nor Outland has responded to her letters about Muntaqim’s scheduled appearance, FOX News reported.

She acknowledged the university is free to invite whomever they like to come speak to students, but argued they should also be transparent about who they place up on a pedestal.

“The main thing is that they should have labeled him what he is: a cop killer,” Piagentini told FOX News.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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