New York City Retired Detectives Association to Honor Judicial Watch Chief Investigative Reporter Micah Morrison for Investigation of Murder of Police Officer
Morrison’s explosive April New York Post article exposed lurid details about only unsolved police killing in modern NYPD history
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on January 13, 2016, the Retired Detectives Association of the New York City Police Department will honor Judicial Watch and Chief Investigative Reporter Micah Morrison for their investigation of one of the most notorious cold cases in New York City’s history: the April 1972 shooting death of New York Police Department Patrolman Phillip Cardillo inside Louis Farrakhan’s Mosque #7 in Harlem.
The murder of Cardillo, quickly tabbed the “Harlem Mosque Incident,” is the only unsolved police killing in modern NYPD history. According to the Retired Detectives Association, Morrison’s probing investigation and revealing April 2015 New York Post article – “Did the FBI Accidentally Kill an NYPD Officer” – “gives new meaning to the words ‘Never Forget.’”
Morrison’s Judicial Watch investigation uncovered significant new documents and leads in the case, including new evidence of the FBI’s role in the 1972 events. According to Morrison’s New York Post news article:
Confidential FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act raise questions about the extent of the FBI’s involvement in the Cardillo affair.
One COINTELPRO [FBI’s secret counterintelligence program during the Nixon administration] tactic was the use of anonymous or “pretext” phone calls — FBI agents posing as someone else — to disrupt targeted groups.
A February 1968 COINTELPRO memo from the FBI’s New York field office to headquarters seeks permission to make “anonymous and other pretext phone calls . . . to neutralize and frustrate the activities of these black nationalists.”
The anonymous phone calls could sow dissent (“there’s an informant in your ranks”) or even get the police to conduct raids and break up meetings.
Six targets are noted in the memo. Four of the names have been blacked out by FBI censors.
“Could that fake 10-13 call sending cops to the mosque have been an FBI ‘pretext call’ gone terribly wrong?” asks Jurgensen [NYPD detective in charge of Cardillo investigation]. “Or could the FBI have had a high-level informant inside the mosque who was somehow involved and has been protected all these years? I don’t know. Only the FBI knows. But look at the Whitey Bulger case in Boston — there’s a situation where an individual was both a killer and an FBI informant.”
In a New York Post op-ed immediately following Morrison’s reporting, former prosecutors and detectives associated with the Cardillo case called upon FBI Director James Comey to “right a grievous wrong and make one last effort to find justice for a slain police officer: open the FBI ‘Special File Room and conduct a comprehensive search of all FBI files related” to the Cardillo killing.
Despite such calls, those responsible for Cardillo’s murder continue to evade capture more than four decades later. And the notorious Harlem Mosque Incident has become one of the most controversial cases in NYPD history. It has been described as a tale of betrayal and cover-up, race and politics, played out across what, at the time, was a disintegrating city. [For a full, captivating exposé of the crime and its aftermath, read Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin “Killing Cardillo: What Did the FBI Know and When Did They Know It?.”]
“Officer Cardillo’s murder, over 40 years ago, is relevant today, and Judicial Watch is proud that Micah Morrison’s investigative reporting is being recognized by the Retired Detectives Association of the New York City Police Department,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We are proud of Micah’s tireless investigation, and Judicial Watch joins with New York’s law enforcement community in calling on the FBI to make a thorough search of all its files for informant, wiretap and electronic-surveillance records related to the Cardillo killing.”
The awards banquet at which Judicial Watch and Morrison will be honored will be held at 6:30 on Wednesday, January 13, at Frankie and Johnnies Pine Restaurant in the Bronx. For additional information, call 718-792-5956.