The street in front of the new police academy in Queens has been renamed in honor of a New York City police officer slain more than four decades ago.
Patrolman Phillip Cardillo had just five years on the job when he was shot dead inside a Nation of Islam mosque on West 116th Street on April 14, 1972.
A fake emergency call about an officer in need of assistance lured Cardillo and his partner to the mosque. There was a confrontation inside and someone shot Cardillo with his own gun.
It came at a time of racial tension and as a riot threatened, then Mayor John Lindsay ordered police brass to release witnesses and suspects from the crime scene.
Neither Lindsay nor NYPD Commissioner Patrick Murphy attended Cardillo’s funeral.
“It was wrong then that neither the mayor, nor the police commissioner attended Phil’s funeral,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday in College Point, where College Point Boulevard and 28th Avenue was officially unveiled as Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way.
Cardillo answered a call for a fellow officer in need and Bratton said “now after more than four decades, we are answering his call.”
For years, a battle was waged to co-name 123rd Street near the 28th Precinct station house in Harlem “Philip Cardillo Way,” but it was unsuccessful.
City Council Member Paul Vallone said the city has finally recognized Cardillo’s sacrifice.
“May this sign forever remind us of the sacrifices that the men and women of the NYPD are too often asked to selflessly make, as well as serve as a symbol that these sacrifices will never be forgotten,” Vallone said. “We have taken a big step towards righting the wrongs from 43 years ago.”
Cardillo’s son, Todd, said his father was a hero.
“This street naming has been a long time coming,” Cardillo said. “It is a great honor to have the Cardillo name become a permanent part of New York City. This is not only an honor for me but it is an honor to all who have served with the NYPD.”
Cardillo’s muder remains unsolved.