Scenes From a Militarized NYPD Funeral in Carroll Gardens

"He was a full-fledged conspiracy theorist. That's okay. Our love for Captain Scholl was unconditional."

Scenes From a Militarized NYPD Funeral in Carroll Gardens
Police officers during a funeral this morning in Carroll Gardens (Jody Rosen)

Residents in Carroll Gardens were roused from their slumber this morning by the sounds of tow-trucks and helicopters, as hundreds of NYPD officers gathered to pay respects to retired Deputy Chief Charles Scholl at Court Street's St. Mary Star of the Sea Church.

A son of Carroll Gardens, Scholl retired at the end of 2020, after a 41-year career with the NYPD, receiving a personal send-off from the commissioner. Clearly, Scholl was beloved by the NYPD.

And when the NYPD shows its love, apparently it comes with all the trappings of a military-style occupation, blitzing into a neighborhood with overwhelming force, proclaiming its sorrow and affection with shock and awe and up-armored BearCat tactical vehicles.

Starting late last night, the NYPD began towing cars around the church to make way for parking for the bereaved. And while there were some signs posted across the neighborhood saying “No Parking Wednesday,” they didn't mark a time when enforcement would begin. Many residents woke up to find their cars gone—swift action for a police department that says it doesn't have enough resources to tow reckless drivers parked on city streets.

In addition to the missing cars, residents also found heavily-armored police officers, cars parked haphazardly up on the sidewalk, and an armored BearCat SWAT vehicle parked on the street.

And then, the funeral service began, with a speaker set to 11 for everyone on the streets to follow along. At the very least, the speeches delivered—"He was a full-fledged conspiracy theorist. That's okay. Our love for Captain Scholl was unconditional," said one mourner.

Carroll Gardens resident and journalist Jody Rosen said that he ran into neighbors totally taken by surprise to find their vehicle towed.

"I talked to a nurse who needed to get to her job, just to find her car missing. She was told to call 311 to find out where her car was," Rosen told Hell Gate.

While the cops were clearly towing cars to park their own private vehicles, it appears they might have overdone it—by towing cars blocks away from the funeral.

"They cleared a whole section of Smith Street, and it's absolutely unclear why that street was cleared. The only reason was to park police vehicles and ultimately there weren't that many cop cars that were parked," Rosen said.

Even after the morning's funeral service ended, police officers lingered on the neighborhood's streets, along with their equine companions, who left behind their own tributes.

"It felt like there was an invading force here today. They towed cars for no reason and left a lot of horseshit," said Rosen.

When reached by phone, an NYPD spokesperson told Hell Gate that "police are allowed to attend funerals," and that in regards to the military-style presence, "when there's high-ranking members of the NYPD present at an event, it's normal."