The scheduled prison release of a former member of a violent 1970s radical group who killed two New York City police officers in 1971 has been put on hold by a state court.

State Supreme Court in Albany issued a temporary restraining order halting Herman Bell's release after the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York requested the order in a lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of Diane Piagentini, widow of one of the slain officers.

The state parole board last month approved Bell's release from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York. The 70-year-old former Black Liberation Army member has served 44 years for fatally shooting officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini at a Harlem housing development, reports the Associated Press.

Bell was scheduled to be released April 17. The court order puts his release on hold pending an April 13 hearing on the lawsuit.

The PBA's lawsuit against the parole board contends board members failed to consider the comments of the sentencing judge and prosecutors, who indicated Bell should never be released from prison. Parole was granted after Bell's eighth parole hearing.

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