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Killed cop honored in S. Jamaica

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Members of the 113th Precinct gathered Tuesday to remember one of their own and rededicate a plaque on the 20th anniversary of his death.

John Scarangella was shot April 16, 1981 during a traffic stop in St. Albans and died May 1. Two members of the Black Liberation Army were arrested and charged with his murder.

After three trials, James Dixon York and Anthony LaBorde were convicted of the murder of Scarangella and the shooting of his partner, John Rainey, in the leg. The men are still in jail for the crime.

At the rededication Scarangella’s son, Thomas, thanked the members of the precinct for helping his family through the most difficult time in their lives.

“As hard as it was to lose our father, you kept our spirits high,” he said. “Thank you for planning this special day to remember and to honor our father.”

After his death, Scarangella’s widow, Vivian, raised their children Thomas, Gina, Julie and Gerard on her own.

Although none of the officers currently in the South Jamaica precinct knew Scarangella personally, they worked to refurbish the plaque that honors him, said Inspector William Morris, the 113th’s commanding officer.

“None of them knew him, but the impact of John Scarangella has never been lost in the 113,” Morris said. “While today is tinged with sadness it is overwhelmed with pride for the 113th Precinct.”

Scarangella is the only member of the 113th Precinct to have been killed in the line of duty.

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said he thought a street should be named after a police officer who gave his or her life for the city.

Lynch presented a street sign with John Scarangella’s name on it to his widow. Several dozen family members joined her at the ceremony held outside the 113th station house.

New York City Chief of Patrol William Morang said that while many people criticize the NYPD, the good things police officers do often go unnoticed.

“It is because of people like John that we have what we have today,” Morang said.

Morang read a letter from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who praised the department for making New York City the safest large city in the country.

Morris presented a painting of Scarangella’s shield, done by a local artist, to an emotional Vivian Scarangella.

As the New York Police Department’s pipers band played the bagpipes, police officials unveiled the memorial plaque, which was moved inside the station house for a private dedication for the family.

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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