The street in front of the NYPD Police Academy in Flushing is set to be renamed “Patrolman Phillip Cardillo Way” after the brave officer who responded to a fake emergency call and was fatally shot inside Harlem’s Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7 on April 14, 1972, by a gunman who was never brought to justice.
Fearing a riot during a time of racial tension, then-Mayor John Lindsay ordered police brass to allow witnesses and suspects to be released from the crime scene. Lindsay and then-Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy skipped Cardillo’s funeral and apologized to Harlem leaders who said cops were invading the mosque. Many believe Lindsay put his political aspirations above seeking justice.
“I want this day to be about Cardillo and nobody else," said Victor Padilla, 71, who raced to the scene that day.
"He sacrificed his life. None of us matter," Padilla said.
Padilla, who was swamped and beaten by assailants, heard Cardillo's last words before he was shot with his own gun — “My partner's upstairs!” That partner, Vito Navarra, will be at the ceremony.
So will retired detectives Randy Jurgensen and Sonny Grosso, who raced to the scene from a stakeout. Jurgensen wrote the book “Circle of Six,” and Grosso wrote “Murder at the Mosque” about Cardillo's shooting.
Patrolman Rudy Andre, who fired through the locked mosque doors to gain access to the injured officers, will be there. Also attending is the nephew of deceased Inspector John Haugh, the commander of the 28th Precinct who resigned in protest over the way police brass disrespected Cardillo.
“I don't think something like this could happen again, but you never know what frightens people,” Grosso said.
Re-naming a street in Harlem was the first choice of Cardillo’s advocates, but many in the neighborhood were opposed to the idea, saying it would “open old wounds.”
“It's not perfect, but the Police Academy is the next best thing,” said retired 28th Precinct cop Tim Motto.
The NYPD maintains that the Cardillo murder investigation remains open, and detectives still attempt to debrief suspects who may have knowledge about the killing.
One suspect, Louis 17X Dupree, was tried and acquitted by a jury of Cardillo's murder.
Who cannot see this happening in the very near future? Both the muslim murdering cops and liberal politicians acting like a-holes.