Proposal Would Honor Philip Cardillo, Killed In 1972 Amid Racial Tensions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Forty years have passed, but the controversy has not completely faded over the 1972 shooting of a New York City police officer.

Now, a proposal to honor him may be turning into a “street fight,” CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported on Thursday.

A picture of Patrolman Philip Cardillo hangs with honor at the 28th Precinct station house in Harlem. Retired detective Randy Jurgensen is helping lead the charge to co-name 123rd Street near the stationhouse “Philip Cardillo Way.”

“He left parents, a wife and three children,” Jurgensen told CBS 2’s Aiello.

Cardillo had just five years on the job when he was shot dead in 1972 inside a Nation of Islam mosque on West 116th Street.

It came at a time of racial tension.

A fake distress call lured cops to the mosque. There was a confrontation inside in which someone shot Cardillo with his own gun. As a riot threatened, police released suspects to cool things down.

“Police officers were ordered away from the crime scene,” Jurgensen said.

A popular mosque leader was eventually charged, but found not guilty. Now, 40 years later, Jurgensen wants the memory of Cardillo to be remembered with the street co-naming gesture.

“Attempting to get the street named after Patrolman Cardillo is not a victory or a huge celebration, it would just be a quiet remembrance,” Jurgensen said.

“He earned it — he earned it with his life,” resident Vincent Jenkin said.

Not everyone is so sure.

“To put that there — that would just bring a whole lot of controversy, friction within the community,” resident Rondu Allah said.

“That’s a pretty touchy subject, and I can understand some people feeling apprehensive about that,” Christine Daniels added.

Jurgensen, meanwhile, said co-naming the street would be part of a “healing process.” But Jurgensen is still working to convince the local community board.

For now, the street co-naming proposal remains stuck in committee at Community Board 10, which officially does not oppose the proposal but doesn’t support it, either.

Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel was at the scene in the shooting aftermath. He would not say if he supports the street co-naming proposal.

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