The following includes editorial content which is the opinion of the writer, a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
ROCHESTER, NY- When you think of dangerous cities in New York (the recent mass shooting in Buffalo notwithstanding), you obviously think of New York City.
When you think of dangerous cities in the U.S., Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis and other big cities come to mind. What if we told you that Rochester, New York ranks as having one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the country?
Current data shows that Rochester is the seventh most deadly city in the country on a murder per capita basis, actually finishing ahead of crime-infested ratholes like Philadelphia and Atlanta.
That leads us to a column written by someone named Bob Lonsberry. We’re not sure who he is, but his column offers a look into the mindset of some elected officials in our country, in particular in Democrat-run dumps such as Rochester. And it is eye-opening.
Lonsberry tells the tale of three heroes…three police officers who had their lives savagely and viciously taken from them by criminal scum. He talks about the political class in Rochester, who one day…this past Monday…lauded an officer who was murdered in the line of duty. Yet a mere three days later, they lauded yet another scumbag who murdered two police officers 50 years ago. How so?
He explains that Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, a Rochester officer with 29 years of service and a grandfather was ambushed by a coward while they sat in their patrol vehicle, attacked from behind in a fusillade of gunfire just a couple of weeks ago.
Meanwhile two other officers, young fathers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini of the NYPD, were savagely ambushed from behind by yet another coward 50 years ago in Harlem. So what is the connection of an incident 50 years ago in Harlem and a couple of weeks ago in Rochester, 250 miles away as the crow flies?
Last Monday, hypocritical politicians showed up at the funeral of Mazurkiewicz, acting like they gave a crap as the officer was laid to rest surrounded by his family and police colleagues.
As Lonsberry tells it, the ceremony was “somber and moving,” as all funerals for police officers killed in the line of duty are. The political class acted like they actually cared about Off. Mazurkiewicz and his family. But it was all for show, at least in some cases.
The man who killed the two NYPD officers 50 years ago is a man named Anthony Bottom, who was recently granted parole over the objections of family and the NYPD.
Three days after Off. Mazurkiewicz was laid to rest, the vice president of the Rochester City Council, Mary Lupien, saw it fit to announce on social media a speaking engagement being offered by none other than Anthony Bottom.
The program was called the People’s Liberation Program and was hosting a discussion featuring the cop-killer, along with the son of another cop-killer named Jeral Williams.
Between Bottom and Williams, they were responsible for the deaths of five police officers and one security guard. The two were members of the Black Liberation Army and have been held up as heroes by progressive leftists for years, Lonsberry wrote.
Three days after the funeral of a police officer, the vice president of the Rochester City Council thought it fitting to highlight two cop killers speaking at a radical leftist event.
As a retired police officer, and I believe I’m speaking for most law enforcement officers, we would prefer someone be intellectually honest about what they think of police officers, instead of being a phony, crying crocodile tears at a police funeral for appearances sake.
Phonies such as Lupien literally make police officers sick. But it didn’t take long for her to show her true colors, showing the officers still mourning in Rochester exactly what she thinks of them.
Sadly, it isn’t only Lupien who thought it wise to host Bottom. According to Lonsberry, Bottom “has been welcomed and subsidized by a member of the Brighton Town Board, Robin Wilt, who also happens to be a member of the New York Democratic State Committee.
Lupien meanwhile has served on the Rochester City Council for years. Two other members of the Council were elected on what he calls a “defund and defame the police platform.”
In greater Monroe County, there are a number of elected Democrats who embrace the “defund and defame” narrative.
One member, whom Lonsberry does not identify posted on social media criticizing the operations of the Rochester Police Department, claiming the department, which has now had two officers murdered in eight years, should be reviewed and changed, calling its tactics inappropriate.
Worse yet, this same member eight years ago criticized the officer killed, claiming he “chased a man without knowing who he was.”
The county executive and local member of Congress also blocked Main Street in the city in 2020 as part of an anti-police demonstration.
The media in Rochester isn’t much better, having held up the violent protesters while lionizing Bottom twice, describing him as a “community elder.”
Bottom was welcomed to a local state university campus in Rochester, described as a “political prisoner,” with the president of that university forcing the police chief at the college to denounce the Thin Blue Line flag as a “symbol of white supremacy.”
CRT is a big part of the school curriculum in the Rochester area as well, where police officers are described as “enforcers of structural racism and white supremacy,” Lonsberry writes.
The anti-police rhetoric in Rochester has had dire consequences, with the department currently finding itself 100 officers short in the midst of the previously mentioned violent crime wave, which Lonsberry calls “the bloodiest 24 months in its history.”
How has the city responded? Both the mayor, Malik Evans, and police chief David Smith have enacted a policy which prohibits officers from arresting people who throw water bottles or shoot fireworks at them.
Lonsberry notes it isn’t the fringe lunatics who hate police in the seventh most violent city in the country per capita…it’s the “elites in the middle.”
It should also be noted that the slain officer…Mazurkiewicz…never had a complaint sustained against him in his 29-year career. Yet he is being sued (or perhaps his estate is) for doing his job, in this case defending the Public Safety building from unhinged leftist lunatics who tried to storm it in 2020 because George Floyd died of a drug overdose.
Perhaps more egregious, the Public Safety building actually drew larger crowds to rail against police than showed up to honor Officer Mazurkiewicz, Lonsberry wrote.
So the question in Rochester should be, is killing cops good or bad, he continues.
For the seventh most violent city in America, that seems to be a subject of disagreement. And that is a disservice to Off. Mazurkiewicz, whose only sin was wearing a blue uniform and a badge.
For a previous piece we wrote about Bottom, we invite you to:
BROCKPORT, NY – A man who served nearly 50 years in prison in connection with the killing of two New York City police officers has been invited to speak at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Brockport, with the organizers calling him a former ”political prisoner” and “avid educator.”
Several New York legislators want SUNY @Brockport to disinvite convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim, but the school must stand firm in its decision to allow the speaking appearance to continue as planned.https://t.co/PnHiw2MqiS
— FIRE (@TheFIREorg) March 16, 2022
SUNY Brockport is holding “The History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim” on April 6. The event is described as:
“(An) intellectual conversation on his time with the Black Panthers and serving nearly 50 years as a political prisoner.”
Muntaqim, formerly known as Anthony Bottom, was among a group of Black Liberation Army radicals who ambushed and shot two New York City police officers in the back in 1971, Officers Waverly Jones and Joseph A. Piagentini.
Muntaqim, along with Herman Bell and Albert Washington, were convicted of luring the officers to a housing project in Harlem, N.Y., by placing a fake 911 call. When the officers arrived, Muntaqim and Wilson snuck up behind the two NYPD officers and shot them in the back. Jones died instantly, a bullet shattering his spine.
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) March 16, 2022
Piagentini fell to the ground begging for his life. He pleaded with his killers, telling them he had a wife and young children. The killers took his service weapon and emptied the bullets into him. Ultimately, he suffered 22 gunshot wounds and died on the way to Harlem Hospital.
Muntaqim and Bell were both convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life. Washington died in prison in 2000. Bell was granted parole in March. Muntaqim was released on parole in 2020 after being denied nine times prior.
The calendar announcement for the SUNY event does not identify Muntaqim as a cop killer. The notice states:
“Join Jalil Muntaqim for an intellectual conversation on his time with the Black Panthers and serving nearly 50 years as a political prisoner.”
The announcement further describes the convicted double-murder as an educator and influential author:
“Jalil was a teen activist for the NAACP, and joined the Black Panther Party at age 18. On August 28, 1971, he was captured along with Nuh Washington during a midnight shoot-out with San Francisco Police.
“Mr. Muntaqim spent 49 years in prison, where he was an avid educator with individuals confined, co-founded the Jericho Movement, and initiated the International Jericho March on Washington (1998) and We Charge Genocide: International Tribunal to the United Nations (October 2021). Jalil is author of the seminal work, We Are Our Own Liberators.”
SUNY Brockport’s decision to provide convicted cop-killer, Jalil Muntaqim, with a taxpayer funded platform is disgraceful, & a disservice to the students who attend SUNY Brockport, the NY taxpayers who help fund it & the memory of these brave slain officers. My full statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/D8jaIj10Mt
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) March 15, 2022
The announcement mentions Muntaqim as a member of the Citizens Action Network and People Liberation Program, “as well as a grandfather, mentor to many, and loving human being.”
The event is partially receiving funding from the PED Grant of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, according to the notice.
There was no mention of Muntaqim’s participation in the ambush and murder of the officers.
The invitation by SUNY has drawn harsh criticism, such as from Republican New York State Assemblyman Josh Jensen of Greece:
“Invite a convicted cop killer on to campus to talk about the struggles of being a political prisoner. That is wrong.
“There is no if, ands, or buts about it, giving Anthony Bottom a platform to speak to anyone is wrong.”
Assemblyman Jensen also asked Brockport President Heidi Macpherson to rescind the invitation. In a statement, he wrote:
“What type of message would we be sending to young college students to call someone who played a role in the assassination of two members of law enforcement a “political prisoner?” What message does it send to criminal justice majors on campus?
“What message does it send to our law enforcement? Allowing for academic freedom and diversity of thought among college students is incredibly important, however, granting this opportunity to a convicted cop killer is wholly misguided.”
UPSTATE COLLEGE INVITES COP-KILLER TO SPEAK AS ‘POLITICAL PRISONER’
SUNY @Brockport invited notorious cop-killer Jalil Muntaqim (fka Anthony Bottom) to speak on April 6 as a “U.S. political prisoner" in a taxpayer-funded conversation – without even mentioning his murderous past. pic.twitter.com/eqztDO1R1U
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) March 15, 2022
Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo called on SUNY to cancel the event:
“He was imprisoned for an act of intentional premeditated murder, not for a political view. His conversation at Brockport will be more of the same, blame everyone and everything in the world except his own actions.
“At a time when Rochester is facing unprecedented levels of violence and loss of life, the last thing we need is another ‘expert’ to further divide our community.”
Tim Dymond, president of the New York State Police Investigators Association, called on the university to cancel the invitation and issue an apology to the families of his victims:
“To refer to a convicted killer who murdered two police officers as a ‘Political Prisoner’ is shocking, abhorrent and an insult to the families of the two slain officers.
“NYSPIA fully supports freedom of speech, and we do not question the right of an individual share their thoughts and opinions. However, we do question why SUNY Brockport would invite a convicted cop killer to campus and refer to him as a ‘political prisoner.’”
#NYC OUT OF CONTROL!-Diane Piagentini Widow of NYPD Officer SLAMS SUNY 4 Hosting His Killer Jalil Muntaqim-Widow of NYPD Officer assassinated in 1971 SLAMS SUNY 4 inviting his killer 2 speak RE his experience as a 'Political Prisoner'-Black Liberation…https://t.co/vK98H3xX10
— 66613Skunky13 (@TrueCrimePoli) March 17, 2022
SUNY Brockport released a statement defending its decision to allow the cop killer to speak:
“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. However, we believe in freedom of speech.
“SUNY Brockport has routinely held speaking events involving controversial speakers from various backgrounds and viewpoints and will continue to do so.
“These conversations are uncomfortable. They are meant to be. They’re about gaining a new perspective.”
Piagentini’s widow, Diane Piagentini, argued against Muntaqim being awarded parole in October 2018 after his ninth parole hearing ended with a denial. She said at the time:
“Anthony Bottom never ever should be released from prison. My husband and Waverly Jones are not coming home, and Anthony Bottom should never be released…
“He swore at the sentencing he could never be rehabilitated. If he gets out, he will continue to work for his cause.”
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