NYPD Widow Blames Cuomo for Pardon of Husband's Killer: 'Betrays the Trust of Police Families Everywhere'
New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro and NYPD widow Diane Piagentini appeared on "Fox & Friends" Monday to react to the release of convicted killer Herman Bell.
Joseph Piagentini and his partner, Waverly Jones, were gunned down in 1971 after Herman Bell, a Black Liberation Army member, lured them to an apartment building for an ambush attack.
Bell was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life. But in April, the New York State Parole Board granted Bell his release. A month later, Bell was given the right to vote thanks to a conditional pardon New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) granted to more than 24,000 parolees.
“It betrays the trust of police families everywhere and devalues the life of my brave husband,” Mrs. Piagentini says in a new campaign ad for Molinaro. “Gov. Cuomo, my kids and I have lived with the pain every day for over 47 years, and there’s no parole from that.”
Piagentini said she holds Cuomo "totally responsible" for Bell's release and subsequent pardon.
"Gov. Cuomo, you couldn't take the time to meet with me and my family to discuss what happened with the release of Herman Bell, but I would like to see you debate Marc Molinaro," Piagentini said.
Molinaro said Cuomo's pardon of Bell is a "slap in the face" to victims and their families, to law enforcement and to the judicial system.
"He's made a mockery of democracy," Molinaro said. "And at the end of the day, [he] has said to law enforcement all across the state of New York he doesn't have their back. I will, because they deserve to know that their governor is going to protect them. If you kill a cop, you stay in jail. That's the way it should be."
In a statement, Cuomo's office said that the parole board is independent of the governor and that he disagreed with the release. The statement went on to blast Molinaro as “despicable and desperate” for “exploit[ing] this tragedy for his political gain.”
"He had the option not to pardon him," Molinaro insisted, accusing Cuomo of attempting to distract from his administration's "corrosive culture of corruption."
Watch the "Fox & Friends" segment above.