Supporters of Black liberation fighter and political prisoner Herman Bell held a packed news conference at the Center for Constitutional Rights March 23. They came out to show support for a recent New York State Parole Board decision to free Bell after more than 40 years – much of it spent in brutal solitary confinement.
The board’s decision has come under attack from police groups, the corporate media and elected officials, including “liberal” Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Speakers, representing a broad coalition of prisoners’ advocates, public officials, artists and activists, called for an end to this interference and for the Parole Board to stand by its decision to release Bell, who is now 70.
Bell’s attorney, Robert Boyle, read a statement supporting parole from the son of one of the cops killed in a shootout with Bell in 1971. Boyle pointed out that his client has met all the criteria for release.
Boyle also condemned the politicians and media for inflaming hateful pro-cop propaganda. He compared the campaign against Bell to the way Hillary Clinton’s racist rhetoric about “super-predators” aided the mass incarceration of a generation of Black and Brown youth.
New York State Assembly member Charles Barron declared: “I have a message for the governor and mayor: Shut up! Shut up and let justice prevail.”
Among the many speakers and supporters were Bina Ahmad of the National Lawyers Guild, New York State Senator Kevin Parker; CCR Board member Lumumba Bandele, and Pam Africa of the International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Readers are urged to take action to support Herman Bell. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/y72puqr2.