Why is the NYPD being so unforthcoming about this case? Do they think that telling the truth about a cop killed by Muslims will enrage the Muslims of the city? Do they think that telling the truth about a cop killed by the Nation of Islam will inflame racial tensions in the city? Or is it that Mayor de Blasio is so anxious to appease such groups, and so politically beholden to them, that he doesn’t want any news coming out that will make them look bad?
“The NYPD must let out the truth about an unsolved cop-killing,” by Randy Jurgensen, New York Daily News, April 14, 2018:
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Forty-six years ago today, an NYPD cop named Phillip Cardillo was gunned down inside a Nation of Islam mosque in Harlem. No one ever served a day in jail for the crime. And for 46 years, the NYPD has been withholding evidence in his murder case from the public. It’s time they come clean.
I’m not the only one leveling that charge. Decades ago, a special prosecutor found that there had been “a concerted and orchestrated effort” by members of the NYPD to impede the Cardillo murder investigation, including withholding a secret report on the case — the so-called Blue Book — from the department’s own investigators.
In March, the watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the NYPD in a New York courtroom for failing to produce records in the case. The NYPD won’t release investigative files, a promised report and an audio tape, preposterously claiming an investigation is still “active and ongoing.”
Why would the NYPD cover up evidence in a cop killing?
It pains me to criticize law enforcement. I’ve been a loyal member of the NYPD, active and retired, for almost 60 years. I was a pretty good detective. I helped send five cop- killers to jail — a record, I think. But it’s the one that got away that haunts me.
The climate in the early 1970s, when this terrible crime happened, was awful. Terrorists with groups like the Black Liberation Army, the FALN, the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers were killing cops and bombing civilians. Illegal drugs and murders were through the roof.
The day Cardillo was gunned down, on April 14, 1972, I was at the mosque where it happened . Cardillo and his partner had responded to an emergency “10-13” call. A 10-13 is every cop’s worst nightmare: officer in distress. The 10-13 caller said he was “Detective Thomas” and he was trapped on the second floor of an address that turned out to be the mosque.
It turned out “Detective Thomas” was a fake.
Cardillo and his partner were first on the scene, racing into the mosque. The big steel doors slammed behind them. Men came rushing down the stairs shouting “Allahu Akbar!” A terrible battle ensued. Cardillo’s gun was taken from him and he was shot.
Outside the mosque, a riot began to develop. Mosque leader Louis Farrakhan emerged from his third-floor office to protest the police presence. Black cops were separated from white cops — a huge blow to police morale — as police brass feared racial unrest.
Inside the mosque, suspects were released. The crime scene was abandoned. Evidence vanished.
The mayor and police commissioner ran away from the case, not attending Cardillo’s funeral. A half-hearted initial police investigation came up with nothing.
One year later, after a public outcry, the case was handed to me. I arrested a suspect, but we had no crime-scene evidence and we didn’t know about the Blue Book, which contained significant evidence and leads. The suspect was acquitted.
In 2007, I published a book about the Cardillo killing, “Circle of Six.” Then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly read the book and instructed the Major Case Squad to re-open the investigation; they gave me a desk and I went to work.
In 2008, during the investigation, I turned over my case records and my copy of the 10-13 tape to the NYPD. Now they refuse to give it back. They claim they can’t find the 10-13 tape.
I want to put the tape out to the public. Maybe, even after all these years, someone will recognize the voice of “Detective Thomas.” I want independent analysts and journalists to be able to see the entire case file. Maybe fresh eyes will come up with something new.
The NYPD is not turning over anything. They say they do not have to make anything public, as it may harm an ongoing investigation.
The facts contradict that claim, I’m sad to say. There is no investigation….
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