Is SUNY Brockport Really Welcoming A Convicted Cop Killer To Speak on Campus?
Criticism is pouring in for an upstate New York SUNY college preparing to welcome a convicted cop killer to speak to students next month.
The school is SUNY Brockport and the convicted killer is Jalil Muntaqim, who was previously known as Anthony Bottom.
Muntaqim is one of three convicted of the 1971 murders of two New York City police officers - patrolmen Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. According to several media reports on the slayings, the officers were lured to a Harlem housing project and killed, with Officer Jones found shot in the head while Piagentini died after being shot nearly two dozen times.
State Senator Joseph Griffo, a SUNY Brockport alumnus, is among those asking administration officials to cancel the April 6 speaking engagement, called "History of Black Resistance, U.S. Political Prisoners & Genocide: A Conversation with Jalil Muntaqim," and disinvite him.
In his letter, the Republican senator representing the 47th-District, which currently includes Utica and Rome, calls it disingenuous and insulting to the families, because the college's event page description of the Montaqim doesn't mention to the conviction for the cops' murders, and instead refers to him as someone who spent nearly 50 years behind bars as a 'political prisoner.'
It is disingenuous and insulting to the families of Officers Piagentini and Jones, as well as those in the law enforcement community, to refer to Bottom as a “political prisoner.” Merriam-Webster defines the term “political prisoner” as “a person put in prison because of his or her political beliefs.” Bottom is not that. He was incarcerated because he and two others brazenly ambushed and murdered two police officers in cold blood.
As an alumnus of SUNY Brockport, I strongly urge you to immediately disinvite Bottom from speaking on campus.
On the SUNY Brockport event page detailing the speaking engagement, there is an editor's note at the bottom that reads:
Editors Note: SUNY Brockport does not endorse the characterization of this event.
Meanwhile, it seems backlash from the community and alumni may have pushed the college to alter its original plans. The school's chief diversity officer told Spectrum News that a grant that was being used to pay Montaqim to come speak has been rescinded, and ''no funding will be used."
As of this posting, the Montaqim event is still on as scheduled.