New York Daily News

Updated: October 7, 2015, 7:52 PM

  

 

Phillip Cardillo — NYPD cop fatally shot in 1972 Harlem mosque incident ignored by city — honored with street name

BY RYAN SIT, LEONARD GREENE

BYRON SMITH/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The street in front of the new police academy in Queens has been after Officer Philip Cardillo, who was killed in 1972 when he and his partner were sent to a Harlem mosque on a bogus 911 call in Queens.

Finally.

After 43 years, five mayors and a ton of red tape, one of the NYPD's fallen heroes was honored Monday, righting what many officers say was the department's biggest wrong.

Officer Phillip Cardillo was fatally shot in a 1972 ambush when he responded to a bogus emergency call at a Nation of Islam mosque in Harlem.

The mayor at the time, John Lindsay, largely ignored the murder, fearing racial tensions, cops from that era said.

BYRON SMITH/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Todd Cardillo tears up Monday before unveiling the street sign renamed after his father, Officer Philip Cardillo.

BYRON SMITH/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton speaks Monday. “It was a shame then and it's a shame now and today we take one step towards righting the wrong,” he said of how the city and NYPD mishandled the death at the time.
BYRON SMITH/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Members of the 28th Precinct pose after unveiling the street sign renamed after Officer Philip Cardillo.
BYRON SMITH/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
PBA President Patrick Lynch speaks Monday.

Instead Lindsay and then-Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy skipped Cardillo's funeral and apologized to Harlem leaders who said cops were invading the mosque.

Fearing a riot during a time of racial tension Lindsay had ordered police brass to allow witnesses and suspects to be released from the crime scene.

Officer Phillip Cardillo was fatally shot in a 1972 ambush when he responded to a bogus emergency call at a Nation of Islam mosque in Harlem.
EDDIE ADAMS, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Demonstrators and police scuffle in Harlem during the riot where three officers were shot.

The city finally honored Cardillo with a new street sign outside the NYPD Police Academy in Flushing, Queens.

"Today meant everything for me," said Cardillo's son Todd after the street sign was revealed.

"I've always been told growing up that my father was a hero, and he is, but not for the reasons I thought. I always thought that he was a hero, called a hero, because he lost his life. But that's not why he's a hero. He's a hero because he put on that uniform and he wore that shield and he did that job the way it should be done."

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said cops will never forget the sacrifices they make for each other and their city. He also pulled no punches when it came to years of ignoring Cardillo's service.

"It was a shame then and it's a shame now and today we take one step towards righting the wrong. It's wrong to give politics jurisdiction over an active crime scene," Bratton said. "It was wrong then that neither the mayor nor the police commissioner attended Phil's funeral."

There was some grumbling among cops in attendance because Mayor de Blasio did not attend the ceremony.

A spokesman for de Blasio could not immediately be reached for comment.