NYPD Detective Denied Entry into Harlem Mosque
By Nicole Bode
DNAinfo Senior Editor
HARLEM — An NYPD detective invited to a community meeting about concerns of police brutality was refused entry into a Harlem mosque because he refused to relinquish his badge and his gun, police said.
Det. Martin Brown, of NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly's liaison unit, arrived at the Nation of Islam's No. 7 Mosque at W. 127th Street in time for Friday's community meeting, only to be greeted by organizers who informed him that his weapon and shield were not welcome inside.
"Det. Brown was invited to the mosque but refused to comply with the request that he enter without his weapon or shield," NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster said in an e-mail.
The Muhammad Mosque No. 7, which is the local headquarters of the Nation of Islam, has a historically contentious relationship with the NYPD, and was the site of a lethal standoff on April 14, 1972 that left a police officer dead.
Officer Philip Cardillo was killed in a standoff with Nation of Islam members while responding to a phony 911 call from the mosque, which claimed another officer was trapped inside.
Organizer Abdul Kareem Muhammad, vice president of the Harlem Clergy and Community Leaders Coalition, said Det. Brown expressed interest in coming to the meeting as soon as he heard about the formation of the Committee to End Abusive Policing in our Communities several months ago.
Muhammad said he welcomed Brown to attend the June 30 meeting at the Mosque No. 7, to discuss the issue of a Harlem family of five that organizers say have been the target of repeated harassment by the NYPD's 32 precinct.
The problem began when Brown arrived and tried to pass through mosque security with his gun and his police badge, Muhammad said.
"One thing I had neglected to do, which was a big mistake, was to get clearance from the mosque," Muhammad said. "It's standard mosque procedure not to let police authorities into the mosque with their weapons or their badges."
Muhammad said the logistical snafu hasn't affected the committe's desire to keep an open line of communication with the NYPD about their mission to stop police abuse.
"It doesn't change anything else, we'll be looking to communicate with him and with Commissioner Kelly's office to communicate with them about our concerns," Muhammad said.