SUNY Brockport set to honor convicted cop killer at event for 'Black resistance' and 'political prisoners'

Jalil Muntaqim, formerly known as Anthony Bottom, helped kill two NYPD officers in 1971

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A New York state college invited a convicted cop-killer to speak about race and justice while describing him as a former "political prisoner" and "loving human being" after his role in the ambush murders of two NYPD officers and another shootout with police in California.

The College at Brockport, State University of New York, is hosting an event titled, "History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim."

Muntaqim, formerly known as Anthony Bottom, was among a group of Black Liberation Army radicals who assassinated two New York City police officers in 1971, Waverly Jones and Joseph A. Piagentini.

Convicted cop killer for 1971 assassination of 2 NYPD officers, paroled by Cuomo's parole board in 2020

Convicted cop killer for 1971 assassination of 2 NYPD officers, paroled by Cuomo's parole board in 2020 (

Muntaqim has been invited to speak under a grant for "Promoting Excellence in Diversity," according to the school.

"Jalil is author of the seminal work, ‘We Are Our Own Liberators,’" a description of the event states. "He gained his freedom in fall 2019, and currently resides in Rochester, NY. He is a member of Citizens Action Network and People Liberation Program, as well as a grandfather, father, mentor to many, and loving human being."

He had been denied parole at least nine times prior.

Diane Piagentini, the widow of one of the slain officers, told Fox News Digital Tuesday that Brockport misrepresented Muntaqim when it announced his appearance.

"They are presenting him as a political figure, and that is so untrue," she 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."

The BLA was a violent far-left militia group that operated throughout the 1970s, linked to the murders of at least 10 police officers and dozens of other attacks.

2 NYPD officers assassinated by Anthony Bottom in 1971

2 NYPD officers assassinated by Anthony Bottom in 1971 (ODMP)

"My husband went to work during a terrible, terrible time, and he went every day, and he walked out there to protect the community," Piagentini said. "And people need to remember that. They need to remember that the police officer that you see in the police car or walking or going into this into a store, he's there to protect you and you should respect him for that."

Former BLA member Assata Shakur played a role in the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973. She escaped from prison and received asylum from Cuba.

And other BLA members took part in a deadly 1981 Brinks armored truck robbery along with the parents of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert. 

Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted Gilbert clemency last year before resigning under the pressure of sexual harassment allegations. Kathy Boudin was paroled in 2003.


The initial calendar post describes Muntaqim as a "teen activist for the NAACP" who joined the Black Panther Party at 18. It does not mention that he joined the militant Black power group the Black Liberation Army or that he was convicted in two murders.

(SUNY Brockport)

Instead, it says, "On August 28, 1971, he was captured along with Nuh Washington during a midnight shoot-out with San Francisco Police" – leaving out the fact that they were armed with Jones’ gun at the time.

"The college can do whatever they want, you know, they can have whoever they want to come in and speak," Piagentini said. "The main thing is that they should have labeled him what he is: a cop killer."

On May 2, 1971, Muntaqim and Wilson snuck up behind the two NYPD officers and shot them in the back. Jones died instantly, a bullet shattering his spine.

Piagentini fell to the ground, pleading for his life and telling the gunmen he had a wife and young children, his widow said Tuesday. His killers took his service weapon and unloaded that into him too. Ultimately, he suffered 22 gunshot wounds and died on the way to Harlem Hospital, she said.

The invitation drew widespread backlash from alumni, prompting Brockport President Heidi Macpherson to address the issue in a statement to the campus community.

"We do not support the violence exhibited in Mr. Muntaqim’s previous crimes, and his presence on campus does not imply endorsement of his views or past actions," she said. "However, we believe in freedom of speech."

In her statement, Macpherson addressed Muntaqim’s crimes and radical affiliations in greater depth.


"Mr. Muntaqim joined the Black Panther Party at age 16 and the Black Liberation Army at 18," she said. "In 1971, he was convicted in the killing of two New York City Police Officers. He spent nearly 50 years in prison for this crime before being released on parole in 2020."

Piagentini said that neither Macpherson, the college president, nor Rafael Outland, the assistant professor who organized Muntaqim’s appearance, have responded to her regarding the issue.

Outland did not immediately respond to questions about his description of the event.

Muntaqim also never apologized to her, Piagentini said, and only admitted to the crime two years ago after serving 49 years in prison.

"We had children, we had just gotten married, all of it was gone," she said. "And he’s not remorseful for it."


Piagentini and Jones both served in New York’s 32nd Precinct – the same area where two NYPD officers, Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, were ambushed and killed earlier this year by an armed man who burst out of the back bedroom of his mother’s apartment in Harlem.

A third officer returned fire and killed their attacker, Lashawn McNeil.

The conflict has also drawn the attention of police organizations and New York lawmakers, who oppose the invitation.

Harry Wilson, a GOP candidate for governor, said the fiasco is an example of progressive leaders pushing soft-on-crime policies at the expense of the public.

"It is unacceptable that a taxpayer-funded university is giving a platform to a convicted cop killer — yet another sad example of New York leaders making bad decisions in support of criminals rather than their victims," he told Fox News Digital.


And Rep. Nicole Malliotakis called the invitation "disgraceful" and is calling on Cuomo’s replacement, Gov. Kathy Hochul, to nix the speech if the college won’t.

"He and his accomplices killed not one, but two NYPD officers," she wrote on Twitter. "[Hochul] must condemn this and the university should rescind [the] invitation."