Brown: Cop Killers Have Only One Place in New York State—Prison

Assemblyman Keith P. Brown (R,C-Northport) stood alongside Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C-Pulaski), Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R,C-North Tonawanda), other members of the Assembly and Senate Minority Conferences and members of the law enforcement community to continue calls for stronger oversight of the state parole board. Since 2017, the parole board has freed 41 cop killers. Another cop killer, Mitchell Martin, who killed NYPD Officer James Whittington in 1982 and was sentenced to a maximum term of life imprisonment, is scheduled for a parole board hearing on June 11, 2024.

“Mitchell Martin should not be released on parole, period,” said Brown. “NYPD Officer James Whittington and his family deserve peace and justice, and if Martin is allowed to walk the streets of our community once more, it is an insult to James’ memory and a blatant disregard for the safety of New York families.”

Brown stands with the family of NYPD Officer James Whittington and other families and loved ones of fallen first responders and law enforcement, including Diane Piagentini, a constituent from Brown’s Assembly District and the widow of New York City Patrolman Joseph Piagentini. Officer Piagentini was tragically killed in 1971 when Anthony Bottom, now known as Jalil Muntaqim, shot him more than 22 times to death. The State University of New York at Brockport featured Muntaqim, a convicted cop killer, at a campus event in 2022. Mrs. Piagentini and Brown agree this lack of respect for fallen heroes has gone on long enough.

“Cop killers only have one place in our state - prison. I am proud to stand with my Assembly and Senate Minority Conference colleagues to call for change and have the backs of our courageous law enforcement officers who risk their lives each and every day to protect us all. To help support local law enforcement, I sponsored proposals A.5935, which will prohibit the release, on parole or otherwise, of persons convicted of first-degree murder, and A.9788, which will establish a real property tax exemption for the primary residences of widows and widowers of police officers killed in the line of duty.

“I am grateful to Officer Whittington for his service to his community—he did not die in vain,” concluded Brown.