Patrolman Joseph A. Piagentini

Patrolman Joseph A. Piagentini

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Friday, May 21, 1971

Joseph A. Piagentini

Patrolmen Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones were shot and killed while on foot patrol in the Colonial Park Houses public housing complex, at 159th Street and Harlem River Drive. They were ambushed by members of the Black Liberation Army.

As the two patrolmen were returning to their cruiser at approximately 10:00 pm, three suspects snuck up behind them and opened fire. Patrolman Jones was struck in the back of the head and killed instantly. Patrolman Piagentini was shot 13 times and succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital.

One of the suspects stole Patrolman Jones' weapon which was later recovered in San Francisco, California after several BLA members opened fire on a San Francisco, police officer.

Two of the suspects, along with five others, were also involved in the murder of Sergeant John Victor Young of the San Francisco Police Department on August 29th, 1971.

The three suspects were arrested and sentenced to 25 years to life. One of the suspects died in prison. One remains in prison, and the third was granted parole in March 2018.

Patrolman Piagentini had served with the New York City Police Department for five years and was assigned to the 32nd Precinct. He was survived by his wife and two daughters.

The Black Liberation Army was a violent, radical group that attempted to fight for independence from the United States government in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The BLA was responsible for the murders of more than 10 police officers around the country. They were also responsible for violent attacks around the country that left many police officers wounded.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 8288

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Convicted of murder


Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Piagentini,

Your service was a testament to your life. There are no excuses for the actions of the Parole Board, I can only hope they have a conscious and they lose sleep over their decision.. May your family have peace in knowing you served your city and our country with HONOR. Please continue to protect and watch over us.

Rodney Jacobs- Sergeant- Retired
Norfolk Police Dept.

March 15, 2018

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