BROCKPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Ahead of Anthony Bottom’s speech Wednesday evening, two women whose husbands were killed in the line of duty shared their thoughts on the event.
That includes the widow of one of the officers murdered by Bottom, who now goes by Jalil Muntaqim.
Diane Piagentini’s late husband Joseph was among the two officers murdered by Muntaqim that day. She says when she first heard the event was taking place, she couldn’t believe it.
“The school should rescind their invitation to Anthony Bottom,” Piagentini said.
Piagentini has been calling on the school to cancel the event for weeks. Muntaqim spent nearly 50 years in prison for the crime. He was released on parole in 2020.
“Nowhere in that bio was the fact that he had killed my husband and his partner, brutally assassinated them,” Piagentini said.
That as in reference to SUNY Brockport’s description for the event. Piagentini says it’s lacking crucial details.
“My husband and Wavery [Jones] answered a call for help in the projects. As they walked out of the building to their car, Anthony Bottom and his partner walked up behind them, behind them, and assassinated them,” Piagentini said.
The event is called, History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim. SUNY Brockport President Dr. Heidi Macpherson says while they understand strong feedback, they believe in free speech and it’s meant to be uncomfortable.
Amy Pieson of Livonia says she’s concerned she never got an invite to speak. Or Piagentini. The two share the same grief of losing a husband in the line of duty.
“Let’s humanize cops again, and remember that before they’re law enforcers, they’re human beings,” said Pierson. “When Anthony ran out of ammo, he took officer Joseph’s gun and shot him repeatedly.”
Pierson’s husband Daryl was a Rochester police officer, killed while pursuing a suspect in 2014.
She’s says tonight’s events are triggering some painful memories.
“Finding out this man resides in Rochester brings all of that to the surface,” said Pierson.
While both believe in free speech, they say the event is lacking elements; lacking their stories, perspective, and acknowledgment of significant loss.
“We were love at first sight so to speak,” Piagentini said. “Family was very important to my husband, helping people was very important to him.”
News 8 has reached out several times to the professor who invited Muntaqim with no response.
The first reactions of the ongoing controversy surrounding the event were recorded earlier on March 15. Follow the link to this article for a full storyline on Muntaqim’s invitation from Brockport.