by Mary Murphy
*Response to this article and similar articles immediately after by Davey D*
When an emotional, NYPD police commissioner, William Bratton, announced the execution deaths of two officers Saturday night—he noted the sad history of police partners being assassinated in uniform. It’s happened seven times since 1971, Bratton said. In some instances, the officer was alone, when he was targeted for wearing blue.
On May 21, 1971, Patrolmen Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini were ambushed from behind on a street in Harlem, during the early days of violent actions by the Black Liberation Army—which sought to create a separate country for Americans of African origin. Jones was black, and Piagentini was white.
Piagentini’s widow noted to PIX 11 News in 2012: “The slogan of the time was a pig is a pig is a pig. It didn’t matter if a cop was black or white. It was the uniform,” Piagentini recounted.
In January 1972, two other officers—Rocco Laurie and Gregory Foster—were fatally shot, as they walked out of a diner in the 9th Precinct in the East Village. Foster, 22, was black, and Laurie, 23, was white.
The Black Liberation Army fatally targeted 16 law enforcement officers around the nation, over the course of more than a decade.
And in one, racially charged incident, Patrolman Phillip Cardillo was fatally shot by someone who took his police gun inside Mosque # 7 in Harlem on April 14, 1972.
This, after four officers were beaten, when they responded to a phony 10-13 call there.
On April 2, 1978–police partners Norman Cerullo and Christie Masone of the 79 Precinct in Brooklyn stopped two men acting suspiciously near 660 Willoughby Avenue. This is the same precinct where Officers Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos were executed in their patrol car Saturday. Cerullo and Masone were killed by gunfire from a 9 mm weapon.
Echoes of the BLA were heard again in April 1981, when Officers John Scarangella and Richard Rainey stopped a van in St. Albans, Queens that matched the description of a vehicle wanted in several burglaries. The suspects emerged from the van and pumped 30 shots into the police patrol car, hitting Scarangella two times in the head. The 42 year old died two weeks later from his wounds. The suspects were former Black Liberation Army members who were only convicted for attempted murder of Scarangella’s partner, Richard Rainey. Officer Scarangella had traded his evening shift for a day schedule, so that he could take his wife, Vivian, to a doctor for treatment of breast cancer.
On February 26, 1988, a lone police officer was assassinated in South Jamaica, Queens, by a different element—crack cocaine thugs.
Edward Byrne was a rookie, just 22 years old, and on the job six months.
He was guarding the home of a drug witness on Inwood Street, when four hired guns snuck up to his patrol car and one distracted him.
David McClary was convicted of being the gunman who fired five shots into Byrne’s head.
Scott Cobb, the getaway driver, gave a graphic, videotaped confession to detectives and prosecutors a week later, when he was caught with the other three.
Cobb recalled how one of his accomplices, Todd Scott, laughed at the scene, claiming he had seen the young cop’s brains get blown out. Scott later denied that happened.
Cobb told investigators his team was paid $8,000 to carry out the hit by a jailed drug enforcer, Howard “Pappy” Mason.
Mason was enraged that he had been thrown back in prison—and that Queens drug king, Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols, had been sentenced to a long, jail term.
Cobb quoted Mason: “We lose one; they lose one. Send a message out!”
*Response from Davey D*
We saw that with media outlets who in a desperate attempt to garner favor with police and help carry out their agenda of shifting focus from #BlackLivesMatter to #BlueLivesMatter, do full on documentary style reports about the history of cops being assassinated.
I say desperate because these assassination attempts are not frequent which meant that these local outlets had to dip back damn near 40 years and cite cases and incidents during the hey day of the Black Liberation Army and the Black Power movements in the 1970s.
Afterwards they had to go back 25 years to 1988 and cite the case of rookie cop Edward Byrne being killed at the orders of jailed drug king pin Howard “Pappy” Mason.
Of course those local media outlets stayed clear of Larry Davis who shot 6 police officers in 1986 when they raided his house and went on the run for 17 days. He became a folk hero for alluding the police especially after it was noted the detectives involved in that case were accused of being corrupt and involved in drug dealing.
The reports brought up the case of rogue police officer Christopher Dorner who killed several cops in LA two years ago, but avoided looking at the numerous shootouts and ambushes of law enforcement in recent years by white supremacist and sympathizers.
There’s been no mention of Richard Poplawski who ambushed and killed 3 Pittsburgh, Pa police officers in 2009. He was taken into custody alive.
There was no mention of the 2010 12 minute shoot out on the 580 freeway here in Oakland between Far Right wing extremist and two time felon Byron Williams and CHP (California Highway Patrol) . Officers fired more than 200 rounds. Williams was taken into custody alive.
There was no mention of white supremacist in April of 2013 ambushing and killing a Colorado state prison chief Tom Clements and later Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia.
There was no mention of police hating survivalist Eric Frien who in September of this year (2014) ambushed and killed a Pennsylvania state trooper. More than 1000 police officers spent 48 days tracking down Frien who was taken alive.
The was no mention of the white supremacist couple, Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda who ambushed two officers in Las Vegas. They believed police were the oppressor. This happened in June of this year (2014) after they visited Clive Bundy Ranch where militia groups had a stand off with law enforcement. After the cops were ambushed a swastika and note that read ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ was left behind on top of one of the slain officers. The couple killed themselves.
Why mention these cases alongside the killing of these two NYPD officers? It’s so folks can compare and contrast the coverage and rhetoric put forth by both media and law enforcement and the steps they take moving forward.