Joined: May 25, 2005
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA
|Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:51 pm Post subject: Last confession
Received this in an email from a mate in NY today.
A former NYPD chief on the cop-killer coverup that forced him out
By PETER HELLMAN
Last Updated: 8:02 AM, April 29, 2012
Posted: 11:02 PM, April 28, 2012
On a Monday morning at the end of April 40 years ago, Albert Seedman traded his job as NYPD chief of detectives for a new job as chief of security for Alexander’s, the now defunct department-store chain. The previous day, Seedman had been the subject of a cover story in the New York Times Magazine. I’d written that story, detailing how the cigar-chomping detective with a diamond pinky ring directed such sensational investigations as the slaying of mafioso kingpins Joe Colombo and Joe Gallo, the destruction of a Greenwich Village townhouse which had been turned into a Weathermen bomb factory, and the murderous targeting of cops by the Black Liberation Army. Under Seedman, the detective bureau had solved all those crimes.
The ugly truth: Former NYPD chief Albert Seedman, now 92, kept the city’s secret for 40 years.
Why had Seedman retired the day after the Times story? Back then, he had a ready answer. In an era when street crime was rampant, Police Commissioner Patrick Murphy wanted to raise the status of the common patrolman, and one way to do that was to diminish the glamor of the detective bureau. Seedman was the personification of that. “Once Murphy saw my picture on the cover of the magazine, I knew my days were numbered,” he said. At the time, I believed Seedman’s explanation for why he abruptly quit at the peak of his 30 year NYPD career. But the truth was otherwise and came out more than three decades later, when Seedman was 92 and long retired to Florida. The real reason, he told me at last, was that he had been forbidden by higher-ups to properly investigate a murder. The victim was an NYPD patrolman from the 28th Precinct named Phillip Cardillo. He had been a first responder to what turned out to be a phony “10-13” report of an officer in need of assistance on the second floor of Mosque #7 of the Nation of Islam on West 116th Street in Harlem. As Cardillo and his partner dashed up the steps, they were attacked by a team of nearly 20 dark-suited young Muslims. In the ensuing struggle, Cardillo was fatally shot at close range with his own gun. Seedman was on the scene an hour after the shooting. By then, a crowd had gathered outside the mosque on West 116th Street and a bus had been burned. In the basement of the mosque, 16 black Muslims were being held. Among them, almost certainly, was Cardillo’s killer. Normally, the entire group would have been taken in for questioning. The crime scene on the stairwell, meanwhile, would have been secured and investigated.But those were racially tense times in America, not least in Harlem. Mayor John Lindsay was hoping to be nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972. The last thing he needed was a race riot in New York City.
From the basement, Seedman called Chief Inspector Michael Codd to ask for permission to bring in two busloads of police academy recruits, armed only with nightsticks, to help keep the peace on West 116th Street.“Permission denied,” Codd said, and hung up. Seedman tried to call Codd back, only to be told that the chief inspector was “out to lunch.” And then the higher-ups ordered all white cops to leave the crime scene. Seedman couldn’t believe it. He turned to Congressman Charles Rangel, who had hustled over to the mosque, and asked Rangel to personally promise to deliver the 16 suspects for questioning that afternoon. According to Seedman, Rangel, backed up by minister Louis Farrakhan, gave his word. Rangel claims he never made such a promise, so believe whom you will.
That the crime scene was abandoned is not in dispute.
Seedman walked alone to his official car, parked several blocks to the west. Bricks were being torn off chimneys and thrown down at him. Seedman had never had to use his gun in the line of duty, but just then, “I felt like pulling out my gun and firing off a few shot,” he says. “That’s when I really made the decision to retire.” Neither Mayor Lindsay nor Commissioner Murphy attended Phillip Cardillo’s funeral in Queens. Cardillo had been reduced to an inconvenience. An intense, year-long investigation by a lone detective, Randy Jurgensen, uncovered a member of the mosque who had witnessed the shooting — Foster 2X Thomas, a baker at the mosque. He said he had seen another mosque member, a large man named Louis 37X Dupree, lift Cardillo off the ground, grab his service revolver, and shoot him in the midsection. Thomas testified at Dupree’s trial in 1976, which ended in a hung jury, 10 to 2. At a retrial the next year, Dupree was acquitted. In 1980, a grand jury convened by District Attorney Robert Morgenthau found that the police investigation at the mosque had been “curtailed in deference to fears of unrest in the black community.” Every spring, hundreds of cops on motorcycles roar past the site of the mosque (it has since moved further uptown) in memory of Cardillo. Seedman is now a very old man, nearly blind, who no longer smokes cigars. Why did he wait so long to reveal the real reason he had retired as the NYPD’s legendary Chief of Detectives? He delivered the answer with emotion cracking his voice.“I loved the police department so much,” he said, “that I couldn’t drag it through the dirt by saying what those bastards did.” Peter Hellman’s “Chief! Classic Cases from the Files of the Chief of Detectives” is out in paperback and e-book now.
Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)