New York State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, today sent a letter to SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson expressing his concerns that convicted cop-killer Anthony Bottom would be speaking at an upcoming event at the college.
Bottom, now known as known as Jalil Muntaqim, was once a member of the “Black Liberation Army,” a militant organization that carried out multiple premeditated assassinations, bombings, and other violence in the 1970s and 80s. In 1971, Bottom, joined by Herman Bell and Albert Washington, killed New York Police Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones after luring them to a Harlem housing project. Officer Jones was killed after being shot in the head. Officer Piagentini was shot 22 times, including with his own service revolver, while begging for his life.
Bottom was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for his involvement but is now out on parole.
Sen. Griffo and Senate Republicans fought against the release of Bottom and Bell. Despite widespread opposition from the victims’ families and communities, both cop-killers were released by the state Parole Board in recent years.
The full text of Sen. Griffo’s letter to President Macpherson is below:
March 15, 2022
Dr. Heidi Macpherson, President
Office of the President
350 New Campus Drive
Brockport, NY 14420
Dear President Macpherson:
I am writing to express my displeasure that convicted cop-killer Anthony Bottom, known now as Jalil Muntaqim, will be featured at an upcoming event entitled “History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide.”
Bottom was one of three men convicted of and sent to prison for callously gunning down and killing New York Police Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones in 1971 after luring them to a Harlem housing project. Officer Jones was killed after being shot in the head. Officer Piagentini was shot 22 times, including with his own service revolver, while he begged for his life. Originally sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for his heinous and despicable actions, Bottom is now out on parole thanks to a lenient approach to parole taken by ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic majorities in the state Legislature. Alarmingly, a brief bio of Bottom on the college’s website fails to mention this part of the convicted killer’s life.
It is disingenuous and insulting to the families of Officers Piagentini and Jones, as well as those in the law enforcement community, to refer to Bottom as a “political prisoner.” Merriam-Webster defines the term “political prisoner” as “a person put in prison because of his or her political beliefs.” Bottom is not that. He was incarcerated because he and two others brazenly ambushed and murdered two police officers in cold blood.
As an alumnus of SUNY Brockport, I strongly urge you to immediately disinvite Bottom from speaking on campus.
Joseph A. Griffo
New York State Senator, 47th Senate District