Three years before voting to rename a street in of honor an unarmed 23-year-old who was killed in a barrage of police bullets, a Queens Community Board rejected an application to rename a street in honor of a police officer killed in the line of duty. So following the board's controversial vote in favor of "Sean Bell Way," the family of deceased officer John Scarangella has again applied for a street renaming to memorialize the slain cop. But the chairwoman of Community Board 12, Adjoa Gzifa, opposes the renaming. "For every police officer that puts on a uniform and carries a gun, if they should perish in the line of duty, does that mean we have to rename a street for them?"
Gzifa, who was one of just two members of the board who voted against the "Sean Bell Way" renaming, told the Daily News she opposes the Scarangella bid because street renamings have "gotten out of hand." She added: "There are so many others ways to honor someone's name without putting up a street sign." But the family of the Scarangella, who was gunned down during in a 1981 traffic stop, says the board should vote to honor the deceased cop — especially in light of the group's "Sean Bell Way" decision. "It's not really about my father himself, but what he did for his community and what Sean Bell did for his community. It's a big difference," said Scarangella's son, Thomas Scarangella, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority cop.
The initial application to rename a section of Baisley Boulevard in front of the 116th Precinct after Scarangella was rejected because the board decided that the officer didn't meet the "local criteria" — meaning his contribution to the community wasn't large enough to warrant a street renaming. The proposal, which has the backing of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Councilman Leroy Comrie, and Sean Bell's fiancee Nicole Paultre Bell, is slated to go before the board's transportation committee next month. "Someone losing their life — especially if he served the city — he definitely deserves to have a street named after him," said Paultre Bell. "He deserves the honor, just like Sean deserved the honor."