Herman Bell


Personal Background

Herman Bell was born in Mississippi and moved to Brooklyn, New York as a boy. He was a talented High School football player and won a football scholarship to the University of California in Oakland. While in Oakland, Herman joined the Black Panther Party and became active around human rights issues in the Black community.

Legal Case

In 1971, he went underground because of relentless FBI attacks on the Black Panther Party. While underground, Herman joined the Black Liberation Army, and in September of 1973 he was captured and extradited to New York on charges of having killed 2 New York City police officers– a case for which Jalil Muntaquim and Nuh Washington were already serving time. No witnesses were able to put Herman at the scene of the crime. The first trial ended in a hung jury and he was convicted at his second trial and given 25 years to life.

He was granted parole in March 2018, and after a judge upheld the decision was released on April 27th after serving nearly 45 years in prison. Herman was one of thousands of incarcerated older people who was repeatedly denied parole for over a decade after completing his minimum sentence. His release is a result of important and urgent changes in the criminal legal system and parole regulations that are part of nationwide efforts to end mass incarceration. Herman is deeply humbled and grateful for the broad expressions of trust and support, but out of respect for the feelings of the victims’ families, he will not be making any public statements.

Life in Prison

Herman was a prison activist and has coached various sports teams inside the prison system.  In 1990 he earned his B.S. degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Most recently, Herman was indicted as one of the San Francisco 8, 8 former Black Panthers all accused of murdering a police officer in San Francisco in the 1970’s. Herman pled guilty to a smaller offense and was not given any additional time to his sentence.




Tuesday, January 13, 1948


Next Parole Hearing: 

March, 2018


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Herman Bell is Free!!!! Now

Herman Bell is Free!!!! Now we need to free Leonard Peltier, Kenny Zulu Whitmore, Edward Poindexter, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sundiata Acoli, Vernoza Bowers, Romain Fitzgerald, Jalil Abdul Muntaqim and so many other political activists 

     I am myself fighting the

     I am myself fighting the great fight to get all political and wrongfully convicted inmates home. I have met with Mr. Bell and am familiar with Shawangunk Prison.  Her in Maryland I am doing my best to educate our young on prison and reform. I wish his (Mr.Bell) family much success and prayers. He is an amazing spirit.