MONROE, NY--Tomorrow will be the 140th anniversary of the death of New York City Patrolman Edward Dippel, whose tombstone is in this Orange County town. Patrolman Dippel was shot in the line of duty, the victim of friendly fire by soldiers during the infamous Civil War draft riots depicted most recently in last year's Oscar nominated movie, "The Gangs of New York."
Patrolman Dippel was shot on July 15, 1863, and died four days later on July 19. His supreme sacrifice along with that of three other New York City cops killed that day has never been recognized before. Patrolman Dippel's name and the names of the other officers appear on none of the memorial walls in New York, Albany or Washington, D.C., honoring police officers killed in the line of duty.
At 11 a.m. today (July 18, 2003), that wrong was righted. New York City PBA President Patrick J. Lynch and NYPD Sgt. Tom Carton whose efforts brought the officers' situation to light led a graveside ceremony at the Monroe Community Cemetery giving Edward Dippel and the other officers the recognition they deserve.
State lawmakers, local officials and members of local police departments were expected to attend.
Dippel was 26 years old, with a wife and child, when he gave his life trying to disperse a crowd attacking the home of a known advocate of the abolition of slavery.
Carton, who lives in Monroe, discovered this injustice four years ago after seeing a photo of Patrolman Dippel's tombstone at the Monroe Town Hall and researching the details of his death. Carton and Monroe Township historian James Nelson brought the inequity to the NYPD's attention recently and a belated official recognition of their sacrifice may soon be a reality.
“Edward Dippel and the other patrolmen – Peter McIntyre, John T. Van Buren and John Stackey – were killed serving and protecting New York City citizens in the draft riots of 1863,” said PBA President Lynch. “Now, thanks to the efforts of Sgt. Carton and others, their names should ultimately take their rightful place on all memorials honoring police officers.”