Officers Young, Piagentini, Jones Below
Center Director Statement "A Disgrace" : Probation for slaying a police officer is an outrage and disgrace. Mr. Herman Bell, 61, was part of a racial separatist domestic terrorist group that assassinated over a dozen police officers across the country in an attempt to overthrow our democratic system in the 1970s and 1980s to form an independent black nation. In addition to the ambush shooting which killed Sgt. John Young of the SFPD in August 1971, he is serving a separate life sentence for the lying in wait murder of NYPD Officers Waverly Jones, 33 and Joseph Piagentini, 28 in Harlem's 32nd Precinct on May 21, 1971. This week in an outrageous miscarriage of justice Mr. Bell admitted to killing Sgt. Young and was given only probation in California in exchange for a plea of voluntary manslaughter. Our Center urges civil rights era investigations reopened and we are rightfully fighting and exposing present day white supremacist cop killers and racists. However, it is imperative that we remain entirely consistent to our principles in condemning the same bigotted violence and threats to our democratic institutions when it comes from across ideological or racial lines. Violence of this sort did nothing to advance the righteous lengthy cause of civil rights for African Americans or anyone else. His brutality has left the families of officers both, black and white, shattered from these vicious premeditated ambush killings. He also levied a direct assault on the most essential foundational institutional element protecting our civilized society. The lack of media coverage of this event does not relieve us of our obligation to condemn this disgraceful sentence, but rather obligates it.