The Nation of Islam and the Murder of Phillip Cardillo

dsThe NYPD has had more than its share of tragedies coupled with travesties throughout its history, everything from the legendary Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino being shot to death in an ambush in Sicily in 1909 because the police commissioner blew his cover by telling the press of his mission to identify members of the mafia, to the infamous Black Liberation Army murders of radio car partners in the early ’70’s, to the assassination of rookie cop Ed Byrne in 1988 as he sat in a radio car guarding the home of a witness in a major drug case in Jamaica, Queens. But the single most abhorrent police officer murder in this city’s history is that of Phillip Cardillo in Harlem’s 28th precinct on April 14th, 1972.

While this murder has been basically thrown into the collective history of cops dying in the line of duty, with no specific “asterisk” relating to the internal department turmoil and incredible wimpy political posturing of the then-mayor and his police commissioner, Officer Cardillo’s death has left an indelible wound on every cop from that time. Even officers who weren’t yet born at the time of Phillip Cardillo’s killing express outrage when they learn the circumstances of his murder.

Cardillo and his partner, Vito Navarro, were the first to respond to what turned out to be a phony 10-13, an officer in need of urgent help, that came from within the Nation of Islam Harlem Mosque located on West 116th Street. Upon entering the facility, the responding officers were met with approximately 15 to 20 men who assaulted them, stripped Cardillo of his gun and shot him at point blank range.

A street riot involving cops, mosque members and people on the street broke out shortly after the shooting. “I happened to be on the FDR drive when I heard the news on the radio, 1010 WINS. I got off at 125th Street and headed toward 116th,” said retired Detective Al Sheppard, who was off duty and wanted to respond to the scene but never made it. “People were rioting. They surrounded my Volkswagen and started to shake it. I had to get out of there, otherwise I was going to start shooting.”

Phillip Cardillo, 31, died six days later, leaving a young wife and three small children.

The immediate investigation was hampered by Mayor John Lindsay, who was more concerned about appeasing the public and protecting his image, as he was preparing for an unrealistic run for president, and Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, who saw himself as a new-breed intellectual, progressive police executive (but in reality, couldn’t catch a burglar in a phone booth). Then-rookie Congressman Charles Rangel was also present at the scene and warned that riots would ensue if cops did not immediately leave the area.

Also in this mix was Benjamin Ward, who would eventually be appointed by Mayor Ed Koch to be the city’s first black police commissioner. Ward was the Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs at the time and, prompted by Rangel, was quite instrumental in releasing 16 suspects who were being held by detectives for questioning. The release of the suspects caused a substantial setback in the investigation, necessitating a great deal of investigative back-tracking and catching up, resulting in invaluable evidence being lost and two failed prosecutions.

“Years later (retired Chief of Detectives) Al Seedman and I were having a few drinks and he opened up,” recalled Detective Al Sheppard. “He blamed Lindsay, Murphy and Ward for everything. He was forced to give the order to let these guys go,” Sheppard said.

On the receiving end of Seedman’s forced order was Detective Sonny Grosso, the real life “French Connection” cop and eventual TV/movie producer of classic cop shows like Kojak and Baretta. “This brings me back to a very bad time,” Grosso said.

It was my last major case. We had 16 suspects being held in the basement of the mosque. The shooter was definitely among them. Seedman orders me to release them and give them cards with the address of the 28th precinct because Ward said he’d arrange for all of them to show up. Surprise! Not one showed up. I gave Seedman a look and he said, “Don’t shoot the messenger. We do what we’re told in this department.”

Grosso, who went on to co-write the book Murder at the Harlem Mosque detailing the Cardillo story, vividly recounts the scene that day and laments, “They (the mayor and police hierarchy) allowed the mosque members to destroy the crime scene. They actually had their members mopping up Phil’s blood.” Grosso eventually had his movie contacts reconstruct the mosque hallway in a studio to assist the first cops on the scene in remembering who was where and who did what.

“I have never seen such a display of prejudice and bigotry in my life,” Grosso said.

If this incident happened anywhere else, St. Patrick’s Cathedral or any other religious institution, there would’ve been no problem in fully investigating this murder and convicting the shooter. They would’ve said, ‘Come on in. What do you need?’ But Lindsay wanted to be able to say as a presidential candidate that New York had no race riots like other cities.

Mayor Lindsay and Commissioner Murphy skipped Cardillo’s funeral. Benjamin Ward actually apologized to the leaders of the mosque. And an unrepentant Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan would later state that the officers “charged into our temple like criminals and were treated like criminals.” The then-commanding officer of the 28th precinct, Inspector John Haugh, by all accounts a rising star in the NYPD, abruptly resigned in disgust.

In 1992, young cops assigned to the 28th precinct, virtually none of whom were on the job when Cardillo was murdered, held a poignant 20th anniversary commemoration that was hampered by events that eerily resembled the turmoil and politics of 1972.

“I was naïve. I thought all the big brass would eagerly attend,” said Luigi Moneta, who was a young cop at the time and would eventually retire as a lieutenant. “The mayor (David Dinkins), and the commissioner (Lee Brown) didn’t come. The borough commander didn’t even come.”

That commemoration by the next generation of NYPD cops helped trigger an annual motorcycle ride sponsored by the Blue Knights every April around the anniversary of Cardillo’s murder. The ride has attracted approximately 400 cops on motorcycles who begin on Long Island, lay a wreath at Cardillo’s gravesite, and continue through Harlem right past the mosque, ending at the 28th precinct.

The Cardillo case recently galvanized cops once again. The NYPD will open a new state of the art police academy in Whitestone, Queens, within the year. Its library will be named after Benjamin Ward, despite his less-than-stellar legacy in the department. Police unions and many fraternal organizations have expressed outrage because there is no street, pole, sign, hallway or anything named after Phil Cardillo, yet an individual who was instrumental in allowing his killer to go free will be honored.

Defending a $40 million settlement to the men convicted in the infamous 1989 Central Park jogger case, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “An injustice was done and we have a moral obligation to respond to that injustice.” Well, under that same theory, the street in front of the new police academy should be named “Police Officer Phillip Cardillo Way.” That simple corrective action will probably cost less than $100 for the street signs.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • desertgoldwing

    What’s to discuss…Islam gets a pass…they murder, rape, “honor” kill and kidnap young girls for genital mutilation and sale into slavery, all while shouting Allah akbar and we are to bend over and take it with a smile on our faces because it is, after all, the “religion of peace”. Pass the Koolaid.

    • slhancock

      It’s more than “Islam gets a pass”. Evil gets a pass, and has been for the whole of the 20th century and into the 21st centuries. The democrat party has been overtaken by the left (once called liberals), who have been overtaken by the Marxists, who are laughing in their graves that the right, which is already being overtaken by the Marxists are following right behind, if slowly at times, but going that direction, nonetheless. Let’s face it. Within the republican party, more than half really don’t give a rat’s patootie about the Constitution and are in agreement with the democrat party. They give the impression they do during the campaigns, and once they’ve passed the vote, they are right back to their hypocrisy. I used to believe that the majority were still conservative, but somewhat apathetic. Now I realize that people lie to the pollsters about that, as well. How else do you explain that people like Lindsey Graham, Lamar Alexander, et al get reelected every time?

      I lived in NYC for 6 years. It’s been corrupt for a long time. Even under good mayors, you have corruption at various levels of city government. The stupid thing is giving evil a pass. It never leads to peace…for anyone. Instead, it shows the soft underbelly that is vulnerable and the extortion gets gets stronger. Unlawfulness, ungodliness, and apathy is bringing America to its knees. We will ALL suffer the consequences.

  • J Coleman

    A Religion ??? Its a group of evil humans that have gone wild !!

    • Lightbringer

      It is not a religion. It is a sociopathology leading to mass hysteria that is protected under the rubric of religious freedom because it calls itself a religion.

  • Conniption Fitz

    Video – Australian TV journalist Andrew Bolt speaks out against Islamic jihad and leftist lies giving Islamists a pass or exemption for their atrocities:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8GkE1EY_QA

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      WOW!

      Bolt Report AKBARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I hope everyone take 5 minutes to watch that video!

      Fascist Islam? F U and your prophet of Satan you call muhammed.

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      There’s no way such a frank commentary on the nature of Hamas and the Gaza Conflict would ever be seen on national television in the United States of 0bamastan — even on Hannity.

  • Atikva

    “Moral obligation”? Mr. de Blasio doesn’t even know the meaning of the word “moral”. How could he, when for him and his comrades, morality consists of blindly obeying the Party’s diktats, no matter how immoral they may be?

  • Pete

    John Lindsay is not a bad man. He was a man who was too weak for the office he occupied.

    “In 1971, Lindsay and his wife cut ties with the Republican Party by registering with the Democratic Party. Lindsay said, “In a sense, this step recognizes the failure of 20 years in progressive Republican politics. In another sense, it represents the renewed decision to fight for new national leadership.”

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lindsay

    If the Republicans are progressive, then they are no different at heart than the Democrats. The only difference would be technical competence, which for politicians is their policies.

    But by and large Democrat polices have been tried and are being tired. They have had the most control since 1932. They have failed.

    So why did Linday switch?

    He wetted his finger and thrust it into the wind.

  • Habbgun

    Cardillo is just part of a pattern. Police are dying from illnesses from exposure to toxins after 9/11/ Vets are dying and being ignored. The bureaucracies have other concerns. Concerns like how to make sure the Muslim Brotherhood tunnels deeper into the government.

  • Cappy1437

    Evil, barbaric, pedophile perverts.

  • doruss03

    If we would fight Islam there wouldn’t be islamist. Only then we can save the world.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Sinister Louie Garbagekhan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUPxElXRTtQ

  • Patricia Taylor

    Criminals keep on committing crimes because they can. When will someone actually prosecute?

  • trapper

    It is not just the Islamists that are evil, it is the Left in general. And that increasingly means the Democrat party.

    • Kebert Xela

      The politicians, Republican and Democrat, were just being Pragmatic.

    • TCJJ

      Tell that to John McCain who is the official arms and financial lobbyist for ISiL… Also our former Democratic & Republican Presidents Carter and Reagan who were the original financiers and arms suppliers for Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan during the early 80s. Apart from the troll who already know, most of you folks will one day wake up to the reality that your right & left wings are are both as corrupt as the other.

  • http://tinatrent.com/ Tina Trent

    The jogger offenders were guilty.

    There are dozens of cases like this one, not to mention hundreds of thousands with non-cop victims, and not one single law professor or journalism professor or lawyer or journalist works to solve any of them.

  • Armed_Infidel

    Let’s call it like it is, shall we? There are no “palestinians.” The arabs illegally occupying Gaza are not a real people but warriors placed there to try to destroy Israel. They have no national goals but one: to destroy Israel. Only “palestinianism” exists. And palestinianism is nazism.

    • Enlighten Inspired

      There are no Palestinians??? More like there are no real Jews left. The one’s put there in 1948 were Eastern Europeans from the Caspian Sea area… Get the heck outta here with that bull.
      The last remaining descendants of “real Hebrews” are Ethiopians…

      • hyedenny

        Tell my ancestors that, moron.

        • Enlighten Inspired

          Pardon, hyedenny? What’s your question?

          • hyedenny

            I didn’t ask a question; If I did, it would be rhetorical because I’m not interested in the opinions of an apologist for terrorists, or those of an uninformed fool. I made a statement, and it doesn’t surprise me that you can’t comprehend the point.

      • Kebert Xela

        Where do the Falashas live again?

        • Enlighten Inspired

          You asked the question… what’s the answer?

      • American Patriot

        The so-called “Palestinians” moved to the Holy Land region from other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Most are either North African or Syrian.

        • Enlighten Inspired

          Which proves they were there before the “Eastern European” Jew there presently who pushed them out…. What is your point?

  • ron44

    The black muslim nation of islam also used a yellow rag news paper titled Mohammad speaks, to stir up trouble against those in the white community by the black panther party as the muslim nations enforcers. Holly Wood came to the rescue of the rescuse of the separatist back nation with several movies in the seventies dedicated to the propaganda that all white folks are devils working for the man, meaning the white power structure that mainly built this country. They had an agenda back then and still do and have gained power with the election of obama and his cronies in the WH. They are all avowed communists and dangerous to the civilized America.