DEER PARK, NY: On the afternoon of Sunday, March 27th, 2022, Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature Kevin J. McCaffrey joined a bipartisan contingent of elected officials and civic leaders to call on SUNY Brockport to immediately scrap any plans it had to have convicted cop killer Anthony Bottom speak with its students on being a “political prisoner.”
Bottom, also known as Jalil Muntaqim, was convicted in 1974 for the May 21st, 1971 ambush-style murder of NYPD Patrolmen Waverly M. Jones and Joseph A. Piagentini. The two became the sixth and seventh NYPD Officers killed by gunfire in 1971. Bottom was paroled in October 2020.
Assemblyman Keith Brown of the 12th Assembly District led the charge by calling on Governor Kathy Hochul, SUNY Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley, and SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson to cancel any such platform for the convicted murderer to address our children - especially in the context that he was a "political prisoner." The original posting for the speaking engagement by the University described Bottom as a "loving human being" and "mentor" to others, and highlighted his Advanced Placement Coursework. It failed to mention his cold-blooded murders.
It is unimaginable that a tax payer funded state university can promote the idea that a cop killer can be portrayed as a political prisoner, said McCaffrey.
Lieutenant Governor Candidate Alison Esposito, who just weeks ago wore an NYPD Inspector uniform, exclaimed, "It is enough! We live in an upside down world where wrong is right and right is wrong. The values of a civilized society should be upheld." Bottom's presentation was originally to be paid for using publicly funded grant money, but is now being funded privately.
Moreover, New York State Senator Phil Boyle added that Bottom should have never been eligible to receive parole as a convicted cop killer, another example of the failures of a weakened criminal justice system.
Mrs. Diane Piagentini, widow of Patrolman Piagentini, braved the chilly, breezy March morning to stand in the park that bears the name of her late husband and issue a demand to the the State University of New York that they bar her husband's murderer from hosting a speaking engagement with their students. Mrs. Piagentini would take her daughters to play in this very same park as she struggled through the pain of the unimaginable and senseless loss of her husband.
A number of other officials and law enforcement spouses were present for the press conference, including Patti Ann McDonald, the former Mayor of Malverne, New York, and husband to the late NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, Congressman and Gubernatorial Candidate Lee Zeldin, New York State Senator Mario Mattera, New York State Assembly Members Joe De Stefano, Doug Smith, Jodi Giglio, Jarett Gandolfo, and Mike Fitzpatrick, Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer and Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez, Suffolk County Legislator Tom Donnelly, New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President Thomas Shevlin, Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association 2nd Vice President Lou Civello, and Jennifer Harrison of Victims' Rights New York.
Legislator Kevin McCaffrey represents Suffolk County's 14th Legislative District, which encompasses the Villages of Lindenhurst and Babylon, the hamlets of West Babylon and North Lindenhurst, portions of Copiague, North Babylon, and Babylon's barrier beach communities.