He slaughtered two cops and then dubbed himself a political prisoner — but Herman Bell is now a “peaceful” man and the perfect friend for trips “to the park,” he told a parole board in winning his release.
“I have so changed, that you would want me to be your neighbor, you would want me to be your friend,” Bell, 70, told the three-member panel last month, according to a transcript exclusively obtained by The Post.
“You would want to call me up and take me to the park, where we’d walk around and enjoy what’s out there,” he told the Gov. Cuomo appointees during the March 1 parole interview.
Bell, a former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army soldier, is serving a 25 years-to-life sentence for three cop assassinations — but won parole on March 13 despite scores of protest letters from law enforcement organizations and victim family members.
He remains behind bars at the maximum-security Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County pending a lawsuit to stop his release, filed by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association on behalf of police widow Diane Piagentini.
Her husband, Officer Joseph Piagentini, and his partner, Officer Waverly Jones, 33, had been lured to their death by a bogus 911 call, and died after Bell and co-defendant Anthony Bottom ambushed them from behind.
Joseph Piagentini died slowly at age 28, begging Bell for his life for the sake of his wife and two young daughters as the radical peppered him with bullets from his own NYPD-issued revolver.
Months later, while on the run on the west coast, Bell admittedly joined in a third BLA cop killing in San Francisco.
But the transcript from Bell’s parole interview — his eighth attempt to convince the board to spring him — shows the Panther-turned-pussy cat wowing his audience with the story of his reformation.
At times reading from a prepared statement, Bell blamed his previous “lawlessness” on his “naive politics,” a product of the racial inequalities witnessed growing up in Mississippi and Brooklyn.
And so he threw away his UC Berkeley football scholarship, he said, and became “radicalized.”
“I was impressionable. I was young. I was angry and full of aggressive energy,” he said.
“The person I was then, if that person was to come into this room, during this interview, I couldn’t recognize that person.”
He repeatedly used the words “deep remorse.” Twice, he called the killings “a horrible thing to do.”
Board members Otis Cruse, Caryne Demosthenes and Carol Shapiro lavished praise.
They lauded his clean prison disciplinary record —“You have a lot to be proud of sir, a lot. Thank you” — said Shapiro.
And they noted his prison-earned masters in sociology, loving wife, prospects of parttime work, his 50 letters of support and what they described as his low risk of recidivism.
The hearing, which the parole board trio attended via video hookup, was downright chummy.
“Mr. Bell, it is our privilege to sit before you today,” said Cruse.
“I hope the other people around you can wear earplugs,” Shapiro cracked when Bell mentioned he had “picked up the flute.”
Piagentini’s widow countered Thursday that the gullible board members would have done better to re-read Bell’s remorseless remarks at his 1974 sentencing.
“This is what Herman Bell said at the sentencing,” she told The Post, quoting, “Until we have justice we will fight. We will fight authority, those who represent authority.
“I have a lot to say, but I am a man of deeds, not words.”
This, the widow said, is what Bell really believes.
“This is in his soul,” she insisted. “And that is not going to change.”
PBA President Patrick Lynch meanwhile slammed the cop killer for blaming “everything but himself.”
“And yet, board members Otis Cruse and Carol Shapiro pandered to this murdering thug and complimented him for behaving himself in prison while living in a cell surrounded by Corrections Officers who are there to ensure his good behavior,” he said.
“They should be fired before they do any more damage to this City.”
Additional reporting by Tina Moore and Laura Italiano