Times-Ledger Oct. 19, 2015

Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way unveiled at Police Academy

By Madina Toure

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton hosted a ceremony unveiling the renaming of a street in front of the Police Academy in College Point after Patrolman Phillip Cardillo.

At the end of July, the City Council unanimously voted to approve the co-naming of 28th Avenue to commemorate Patrolman Phillip Cardillo, who had been on the police force for five years with the 28th Precinct in Harlem. Castillo, who was 31 at the time, was shot outside a mosque located at 102 W. 116th St. in April 1972.

Speaking through tears, Cardillo’s son, Todd, said the street renaming “has been a long time coming.”

“I’ve always been told growing up he’s a hero but not for the reasons I thought,” he said.

Cardillo’s death marks the only unsolved murder of a police officer in the city’s history.

Vallone, who introduced the bill seeking the street renaming, said Cardillo’s death was a reminder of the sacrifices police officers make to keep people safe.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a street renaming like this,” Vallone said.

Bratton said he was amazed that it took 43 years for the public memorial to take place, calling it a “shame.”

He noted that between 1971 and 1973, the NYPD lost 26 officers in the line of duty to gunfire and assault.

“On a spring day in 1972, Phil Cardillo answered a 10-13 call, a cop needing immediate assistance,” Bratton said. “Now, after more than four decades, we are answering his call.”

In April 1972, Cardillo and his partner, Detective Vito Navarra, were lured to a Harlem mosque with a false report of an officer who needed help. When they entered the mosque, the officers were overwhelmed and attacked by a crowd inside.

During the fray, Cardillo was shot and killed with his own gun. Neither Mayor John Lindsay nor Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy attended Cardillo’s funeral.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said it is fitting that the street is right in front of the Police Academy, allowing younger generations to learn about Cardillo’s sacrifice.

“They’re going to learn as they train to work for the city of New York and learn about him and mistakes made by the city that need to be rectified,” Katz said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), whose father served in the NYPD for 21 years, said the police force has become better since Cardillo’s death because of his sacrifice.

“The disgusting politics that took place in 1972 should never be tolerated in this city or any other city again,” Crowley said.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, commended retired officers who attended his funeral and assistant district attorneys who worked on the case for coming to the street renaming, noting that many people do not understand police officers’ work.

“They’re all here today,” Lynch said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.