Two rookie cops shot in cold blood on Avenue B

Of course Avenue B was a much rougher stretch of the East Village in the 1970s and 1980s than it is today.

So rough, in fact, that a violent revolutionary group targeted police officers there.

That’s what happened at about 11 p.m. on January 27, 1972, when patrolmen Rocco Laurie (left) and Gregory Foster (right) were walking their usual beat.

Suddenly, at 11th Street and Avenue B, a group of men ambushed the rookies, shooting each in the back several times and leaving them for dead in the snow.

A group calling themselves the Black Liberation Army took responsibility. An offshoot of the Black Panthers, the BLA released a statement claiming that the murders were retaliation for the Attica prison riot.

“The BLA viewed black ghettos as sovereign territory, the police as invaders, and themselves as the armed resistance,” wrote Andrew Roth in Infamous Manhattan. “To this group, Foster (black) and Laurie (white) were but foot soldiers of an enemy army.”

It was the latest in a war the BLA had been waging on the NYPD. In May 1971, two cops were wounded when their car was fired at on the Upper West Side.

Two days after that, officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini were assassinated while patrolling a housing project in Inwood.

Eventually the NYPD tracked down the BLA members responsible for the Avenue B murders and brought them to trial in 1974. According to the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, all but one of the killers have been brought to justice.

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13 Responses to “Two rookie cops shot in cold blood on Avenue B”

  1. Nabe News: January 19 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] in 1972, when the Black Liberation Army targeted and murdered NYPD officers on Avenue B [Ephemeral […]

  2. addie Says:

    Their usual beat??
    I grew up at 9th and B and there were no police in that area, except a very occassional police car griving through, until 1984!
    Those two must have gotten killed because they got lost, accidently coming East of 1st avenue.

    Their usual beat! hahahahaha

    addie

  3. How I Learned One Day at a Time | After Party Chat Says:

    […] Patty Powers is a sober coach, writer, and public speaker on addiction and recovery. She was featured on the A&E mini-series Relapse in 2011 and is currently writing a recovery book. She lives in New York. A version of this post originally appeared on her personal blog. Avenue B photo courtesy of EphemeralNewYork. […]

  4. John R Flanagan Says:

    And now on December 20, 2014 two more cops were killed in cold blood. The killed had a tag on him stating, “They took one of , we’ll take two of theirs” Obviously he couldn’t count, because, after the murder he killed himself. That’s two for two. God Forgive him.

    Detective (retired) John R Flanagan

  5. Two Cops Shot and Killed in New York City in “Ambush” and “Assassination,” Says Commish » RickMick Says:

    […] or what’ll happen if ambushes actually start happening? They did once in New York City, a long time ago. The two cops today, meanwhile, are the first to be fatally shot on the line of duty in New York […]

  6. Two Cops Shot and Killed in New York City in "Ambush" and "Assassination," Says Commish | Michigan Standard Says:

    […] or what’ll happen if ambushes actually start happening? They did once in New York City, a long time ago. The two cops today, meanwhile, are the first to be fatally shot on the line of duty in New York […]

  7. The Liberty Herald – Two Cops Shot and Killed in New York City in “Ambush” and “Assassination,” Says Commish Says:

    […] prevail, or what’ll happen if ambushes actually start happening? They did once in New York City, a long time ago. The two cops today, meanwhile, are the first to be fatally shot on the line of duty in New York […]

  8. Two Cops Killed. Tweeters Rejoice. Putting Wings On Pigs. Police Turn Backs On Mayor. Should New York Burn? | Kings & Queens Says:

    […] prevail, or what’ll happen if ambushes actually start happening? They did once in New York City, a long time ago. The two cops today, meanwhile, are the first to be fatally shot on the line of duty in New York […]

  9. jacksonpollocknewyorkn Says:

    I wonder if anyone knows about 171 ave.B 11th street where Ms. Nori Poliakoff in 1954 open her shop? She was at that time a Havana student and came back to New York.

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