Four decades later, College Point street co-named for fallen officer

Photos courtesy of the NYPD/Office of Councilman Paul Vallone

Police Commissioner William Bratton and city officials honored late NYPD Police Officer Phillip Cardillo on Monday with the unveiling of a co-named College Point street located directly in front of a new police training academy.

Cardillo had been on the force for five years when he and his partner, Detective Vito Navarra, received a false call about an officer in distress at the Nation of Islam mosque on 116th Street on April 14, 1972. The two responding officers were attacked by a crowd inside upon their arrival, and Cardillo, 31, was fatally shot with his own gun.

Witnesses at Monday’s ceremony estimated that over a thousand people were in attendance for the unveiling of Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way, including Commissioner Bratton, Public Advocate Letitia James, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and Councilman Paul Vallone.

Todd Cardillo, Cardillo’s son, was also in attendance at the ceremony. He said that this was not only an honor for him but for all who have served with the NYPD.

“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.”

Councilman Vallone said the recognition is long overdue and he was proud to have introduced the co-naming legislation. According to Vallone, Cardillo’s death remains the only unsolved police killing in modern NYPD history.

“Now, generations of new officers will look to the sign and know his story and legacy to the department,” Vallone said. “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.”

In a statement read at the event, Commissioner Bratton said that it was incredible to him that the co-naming took over 40 years to be put in place.

“Today we took one step to righting a wrong & fulfilling a promise to #neverforget,” Bratton later posted on his Twitter account.

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