Back In The Day 1971-1972 NYCPD
From Ret. Capt. Harvey Katowitz: and Message from Randy Jurgensen Homicide Detective, ret.
Let me put some additional figures of my police department "back in the day, 1971-1972".
First and foremost,13 Cops Were "Set Up and Executed" simply because they were cops who represented law and order. (During that time, 22 NYPD officers died in the line of duty). HK
Some Penitent NYPD L.O.D.D. Stats
From Mike Bosak
NOTE: Factoring out 9/11 and the W/T/C Terrorist Attack; all figures were taken from official NYPD stats*:
The last time four (4) NYPD officers were shot & killed while on duty within 10 months was 26 years ago, in 1989
The 1930s followed by the 1920s were the two deadly decades for the NYPD for L.O.D.D.
The Six (6) Deadliest Years for the NYPD [ Almost all were shot and killed ]
1930 19 Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
1931 18 Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
1938 17 Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
1922 17 Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
1932 15 Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
1971 15 Police Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
Prohibition, bootlegging and the depression were all major causal factors in the killing of NYPD police officers in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1971 it was the B.L.A. - Mike Bosak
* NOTE: The above stats were taken from the official NYPD website that listed those killed in the line of duty. However, they were removed by the department a number of years ago.
Officer Fatality Update Dec 31, 2018
2018 2017 Change
Total 145 129 +12%
Firearms 53 46 +15%
Traffic 50 46 +9%
Other 42 37 +14%
NY 11, CA 11. FL11, TX 11
Date Rank Name Shield # Precinct/Command Cause of Death
Sep 23 1970 Ptl. Michael Paolillo 4063 ID Sect. Stabbed-Investigation Off Duty
Oct 13 1970 Ptl. Maurice Erben 6582 Harbor Unit Boat-Crushed
Oct 22 1970 Ptl. Gerald Murphy 16043 9th Shot-Arrest-Off Duty
Nov 9 1970 Sgt. Henry Tustin Jr. 2265 32nd Shot-Robbery
Jan 19 1971 Ptl. Gerald Velotta 25970 18th (Mid. N.) Shot Accidental Discharge
Jan 22 1971 Ptl. Robert Bolden 20025 75th Shot-Altercation Off Duty
Feb 15 1971 Det Joseph Picciano 2281 41st Det. Sqd. Shot By Prisoner
Feb 19 1971 Ptl. Horace Lord 4292 Man. N. Pep Sqd. Shot-Arrest Investigation
Feb 20 1971 Det Erle Thompson 1316 114th Shot-Domestic Dispute
May 05 1971 Det. Ivan Lorenzo 1694 Narco. Div. Shot-Altercation Off Duty
May 21 1971 Ptl. Joseph Piagentini 8788 32nd Shot-Assassination
May 21 1971 Ptl. Waverly Jones 4381 32nd Shot-Assassination
Jul 24 1971 Ptl. Robert Denton 29130 73rd Stabbed-Investigation
Aug 20 1971 Ptl. Kenneth Nugent 16022 103rd Shot-Robbery
Aug 26 1971 Sgt. Joseph Morabito 2365 1st Det. Div. Shot-Investigation
Sep 25 1971 Ptl. Arthur Pelo 3259 HPD Bklyn./S/I Shot-Robbery Arrest
Nov 24 1971 Ptl. Patrick O'Connor 9270 Emer. Serv. Unit Auto Accident
Dec 7 1971 Det. Harold Marshall 768 HPD Bklyn Det Sqd Heart Attack Chasing Felon
Dec 21 1971 Ptl. Carson Terry 3353 HPD Shot-Off Duty Robbery Arrest
Jan 27 1972 PO. Rocco Laurie 11019 9th Shot-Assassination
Jan 27 1972 PO. Gregory Foster 13737 9th Shot-Assassination
Mar 18 1972 PO. Elijah Stroud 4202 80th Shot-Robbery
Apr 3 1972 Det William Capers 945 16th Det. Dist. Shot Accidental Discharge
Apr 14 1972 PO. Phillip Cardillo 26620 28th Shot-Investigation
Jun 28 1972 PO. John Skagen 3229 TPD Dist. 2 Shot Chasing Felon
Oct 22 1972 PO. Joseph Meaders 5033 63rd Crushed By Oil Truck
There were bombings, too many to mention. We, the police, had no vests, no radios, we were outgunned and not supported. These acts were carried out by people of all color and different backgrounds. Again, the sole purpose was to kill cops. During this time, in our great city, there were over 250,000 registered (by arrest) heroin addicts, regularly committing crimes to sustain themselves. If we had 250,000 people with TB, the city might have been quarantined. The yearly homicide rate exceeded 2,000, that's 2,000 human beings murdered not in Viet Nam during the war, but in N.Y.C.
We were called pigs" in fact, many of the signs at the various demonstrations read, "off the pig". We were leaderless, not supported by our own Commissioner or Mayor, in fact, they did not have time to attend our funerals. We buried our own and went out and did the job, trying to just hold the line. We have been told we were not as well trained and certainly not as well educated as today's police officers. Well, we did our best and sometime in the future, when we are again compared "racked up 994 shootings", please visit Police Headquarters and look at the Wall of Heroes for 1971-1972.
Homicide Detective, ret.
TEARS OF A COP
A little boy died last night in the arms of a cop,
Two lives forever change tonight,
Drunk driving has to stop.
Too drunk to buckle up his own son,
Yet not too drunk to drive.
Two lives forever changed tonight,
When will this madness stop?
That little boy is with Jesus now,
His daddy is in jail,
Two lives forever changed tonight,
When will it stop?
Shed this night were the tears of cop,
Two lives forever changed tonight,
The father's and the cop's by
~ Cassie W. ~ Police Explorer
Columbus Day Parade Oct 8, 2018
9/I5 48 Years Later, a Cold Case Mystery: Who Killed Officer Bolden?
Three people were in the bar that night — the bartender, an off-duty police officer he was chatting with over the polished wood, and, in the back of the place, a man in a phone booth. It was a winter night in 1971 in Dunne’s Bar and Grill at the Brooklyn foot of the Manhattan Bridge, a Friday so slow that the bartender decided it was time to close. He asked the police officer, a friend of his who was not in uniform, to tell the man in the booth it was time to go.
In the chaotic seconds that followed, gunfire tore through Dunne’s, leaving bullets lodged in the bar and the officer, Robert Bolden, dead on floor. He was 46 years old, a father of three. His killer was never identified. There are thousands of cold cases in New York City, needling reminders of unfinished business. But the murder at Dunne’s 48 years ago burdens detectives more than many.
His murder is the oldest unsolved case of an officer killed in the city. In July, detectives announced a new push to solve the crime, offering a $111,500 reward, raised by police unions around the country, for any information. Coming so long after the murder, the reward and renewed investigation are measures of the depth of resolve in the New York Police Department when one of its own has been slain.
The obstacles investigators face are many, starting with the passage of time. “Most of the people at that time are either 80 or dead,” said Detective Herb Martin, a Brooklyn homicide investigator assigned to the case. “The crack epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, that’s a lot to go through.” Still, investigators hope an infusion of cash to the longstanding reward will pry loose some leads. “We’re going to take this case and treat it like it happened a month ago, and use money and forensics,” Detective Martin said.
To revisit the death of Officer Bolden is to travel back to a starker time. He would become the first of 10 officers murdered in New York City in 1971, far more than in any year in the previous decade. The killings came amid a national wave of attacks on officers. Police chiefs and members of Congress urged for investigations into a possible conspiracy.
The police killings added to a general sense that New York City was in decline. Heroin use was rampant, the murder rate was rising fast and the city’s finances were shaky. Radical politics seemed to be in the air. Two officers, Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini, were ambushed and gunned down later that year in Harlem by members of the Black Liberation Army.
“It’s always been in my mind,” Detective Bolden said about his grandfather’s killing. “Hoping that…
Officer Bolden lived only a couple of blocks away from Dunne’s, in the Farragut Houses, a public-housing project. He was a transplant from the South by way of wartime Europe. He had been born and raised in South Carolina, and his family members were once sharecroppers on a plantation owned by the Pratt family called Good Hope, his brother, George Bolden, said.
He enlisted in the Navy after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. He was only 16, but lied about his age. “When the war broke out, a lot of the young men his age and older enlisted in the armed forces,” George Bolden said. “I think he felt the world was moving on without him. He cajoled my mom to go down to the naval enlisting place with him.”
When he came home from the war, he settled in New York City. “He married a lady who lived in Brooklyn,” his brother said. He first found work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s police unit before joining the Police Department in 1955.
“Always right where you needed him,” said a fellow officer from the 1960s, George Hanley, 75. “Gentleman of a cop. Nothing more you could ask from a man. A real swell guy.”
Officer Bolden relished the work. “He loved being in uniform,” George Bolden said. When he was occasionally assigned to a plainclothes unit, “he absolutely hated it.” He worked in the 75th Precinct in East Brooklyn, but was a familiar presence in his own neighborhood. “He made it a point, whenever he could, he’d stop in places,” George Bolden said. A luncheonette, a Carvel ice cream shop, a dry cleaner — “He would actually stop in on his way home. He would get in to see those people. They knew him and knew he was a cop. He’d say, ‘I’m thinking about you. How are things going?’”
It may have been in this spirit that he began going to Dunne’s Bar and Grill on Gold Street near the bridge. The night of Jan. 22, 1971, was unusual only in how empty the bar was: just him; his friend the bartender, John Gallagher, 62; and the third man in the phone booth. Mr. Gallagher asked Officer Bolden to tell the man the bar was closing, and he did. When he returned to the bar, the man emerged with a shotgun. He fired and wounded Officer Bolden, who returned fire with his service revolver, his bullets missing their mark and slamming into the wood bar. The man fired again, this time killing Officer Bolden where he stood. He fell to the floor.
The gunman ran out of the bar. Moments later, two other men ran in, grabbed the officer’s revolver, and ran back out. Witnesses told the police the men fled in a different direction than the first man. Behind the bar, Mr. Gallagher blacked out. With so few eyewitnesses, the case grew cold within hours and stayed that way. A police helicopter searched in vain for the shooter. Officers contacted people who had received calls from the pay phone that night, but none were believed to have spoken to him.
The bartender was interrogated and passed a lie-detector test, leaving detectives convinced he had nothing to do with the crime. He died a few years later. The lack of clues created a void that filled with theories. Maybe the shooter was pretending to be on the phone, but actually was waiting for Officer Bolden to leave so he could rob the bartender. Maybe the two men who ran in after were his accomplices, or maybe they were not.
“We’re treating it separately,” Detective Martin said, viewing the gun theft as a crime of opportunity by two men who heard the shots. The gun would never surface again; it has not been used in another reported crime and has not been sold in the open market. In the days after the murder, the police thought they were close to an arrest. Two people outside the bar that night had said they saw a man leaving Dunne’s near the time of the shooting. But the man came forward to the police when he learned detectives were looking for him and brought five witnesses who said he was with them that night, nowhere near Dunne’s. A grand jury declined to indict him.
Detective Martin and Sergeant Dan Brennan, both from Brooklyn North’s homicide division, are running the new investigation. They are gathering the old physical evidence for DNA testing and tracking down witnesses — the ones outside the bar and others. They are re-examining crime scene photographs with image-mapping software. “Our twist is, we’re going to take today’s technology and put it to use as if it’s a new homicide,” Detective Martin said.
Officer Bolden was laid to rest the week after his death. “A biting cold wind whipped at the faces of the 500 policemen standing at attention outside the church in the Fort Greene section,” a New York Times article said. “As six men in uniform picked up the flag-draped coffin, hundreds of white-gloved hands shot up in sharp salute.”
A school in East New York, near the precinct where he had worked, was renamed the Patrolman Robert Bolden School. But the officer’s legacy took form in a different way within his family.
In 1987, after hearing about his slain uncle for most of his life, a young man named Gregory W. Bolden of Providence, R.I., joined his local police department. One of his motivations was to “avenge his uncle’s death,” his father, George Bolden, said.
Gregory Bolden died in 2005 of a rare illness. That same year, one of Officer Bolden’s grandchildren, John Bolden, joined the New York Police Department, starting at the same precinct where the grandfather he never met lived and lost his life. Now a detective, John Bolden said he thinks often about his grandfather’s killer. “It’s always been in my mind,” Detective Bolden said. “Hoping that one day, you’d be able to bring the case to a positive ending.” Correction: August 28, 2019 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of a homicide detective assigned to Officer Robert Bolden's case. He is Herb Martin, not Martin Herb.
JUN 27 “Only A Cop”____ Remark by Joe Fox Ret. Bureau Chief
In early 2000 when I was a new Borough Commander of Brooklyn South, then rookie Captain Dave Barrere (Now a two star Chief, Queens South) gave me an article, “Only A Cop.” (Please see link below.) He thought I would enjoy it, and he was on the money. I shared it with everyone I could - all my supervisors and commanding officers, every group of rookies I had who had just graduated the Academy, and then some. Up until that time I had never met the writer, retired Sergeant Harry O’Reilly. After sharing “Only A Cop” with so many people, I decided to try to track the writer down. I had a great conversation with Harry, and eventually a special friendship. I really enjoyed our phone calls and all of the old stories and lessons Harry would share with me. I would come to learn of the amazing career that he had working in so many important specialized units. I particularly loved calling Harry and telling him when I would run into someone who referred to himself as, “just a cop,” and then give him his homework assignment, sending him a copy of “Only A Cop.”
This past Father’s Day I got the sad news that Harry had passed away. In my 37 year career I have been given so many gifts and so many honors but one of the greatest honors I have been given is speaking at Harry’s funeral this morning.