Courtesy of NY Finest News
Harlem Mosque Incident 1970's
April 14, 1972, was one of the darkest days in the NYPD history. Patrolmen Phil Cardillo and Vito Navarra were riding in 28 sector George. They were the first RMP to respond to a 10‑13 on the second floor at 102 West 116 Street.
After arriving and entering the building which was a mosque they questioned about 10 muslims at the front desk about the call. Suddenly the muslims shouted "Allah Akhbar", more muslims came from rooms, then the officers were beaten and stomped by numerous black muslims.
A minute or two later Patrolmen Vic Padilla and Ivan Negron of the 25 pct. arrived and were also badly beaten and knocked to the ground. Navarra was able to crawl to the front door which was then slammed shut by the muslims. He told the responding cops that Cardillo was still inside. Thru a small window in the front door cops could see Cardillo on the floor being kicked by the surrounding mob. Padilla was down and being stomped and his gun was taken. Ptl. Negron was being beaten and he was fighting off numerous hands that were attempting to rip the gun from his holster.
One of the muslims, six foot four and 260 pounds, Louis 17X Dupree grabbed Cardillo's gun, ripped it from the holster and fired a round into Cardillo. The cops at the front door smashed the glass and afraid of hitting the fallen cops, fired five rounds over the heads of the muslims. Padilla, seeing Louis Dupree running with the gun, fired three rounds. More 10‑13's are called.
The cops broke in the front door. The seventeen muslims ran to the basement. Cops flooded through the door and chased the fleeing muslims down the stairs. The cops had them against the wall and began searching for the missing guns. Cardillo is removed to St. Lukes hospital. At the same time, outside the mosque a large crowd of about a thousand locals begin to riot.
Cars were overturned, bricks are coming off the roofs, and cops and media people are being assaulted. While this is going on Deputy Chief Inspector William Knapp arrived and went into the basement and spoke with Inspector John Haugh the 28 pct CO. Insp. Haugh had responded to the 10‑13. He told the cops to guard the prisoners.
Knapp called Commissioner Pat Murphy and advised him of the turmoil inside and outside the mosque. While Knapp was talking on the phone he heard shouting. He turned and saw Louis Farrakhan and Charlie Rangel leading a large group of muslims down the basement stairs. Farrakhan was shouting that all the cops must leave the temple. Knapp tells Haugh to move to the street.
Now Deputy Commissioner Ben Ward arrives, with Farrakhan at his side he shouts to the superior officers that the cops immediately leave the mosque. The crime scene was abandoned. Farrakhan and Rangel are shouting to the superior officers "If you stay, there is nothing we can do to protect you. You'll be overrun. There'll be rioting. People may be killed." Farrakhan and Rangel 'promise' that the prisoners would come to the 24 pct. at five o'clock to be questioned. Do you think anyone showed up? Phil Cardillo died six days later. Mayor John Lindsay and Commissioner Pat Murphy did NOT attend the funeral.
A few days after Cardillo was buried. Deputy Commissioner Ben Ward was quoted in the Amsterdam news: I believe that my investigation has pointed out, at least to my satisfaction, that there were some errors made on the part of the police. For the errors, and for the consequence of those errors, I apologize to minister Farrakhan."