Hundreds of police officers, dignitaries and Brooklyn residents joined the family of retired Deputy Chief Charles “Chucky” Scholl for his funeral Wednesday in his life-long neighborhood of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn after he died of natural causes this past week at age 64.
Scholl — who served in 11 commands during his 41 years as a cop, his favorite in Coney Island’s 60th Precinct — was one of the most admired commanders for his ability to communicate with every community and to find common ground with nearly all the people he served. He was best known for talking down emotionally disturbed people from their most difficult moments of pain.
In one instance in 2016, he talked a man out of drowning himself in New York Harbor by saying, “I told him it’s Easter and Jesus sent me to save him – he believed me,” Scholl had said.
While Scholl could make friends with nearly everyone he met, he was most frustrated during the Black Lives Matter protests when demonstrators at the Barclays Center after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota cops. He expressed disappointment that he couldn’t get demonstrators to keep peace while showing their anger over Floyd’s death — his officers pelted with bottles while holding back crowds on that fateful June evening.
Scholl was lauded as a peacemaker and friend to nearly every community he served, having received dozens of plaques from groups throughout Brooklyn for his efforts to work with them to solve issues. He was forced to retire at the end of 2020, his most difficult year as a cop, at the mandatory age of retirement of 62.
He was well known for telling his colleagues and friends that he would leave the department “kicking and screaming.” But on that last day at the 60th Precinct in Coney Island, he was saluted by then-Commissioner Dermot Shea and Chief of Department Terence Monahan and a large contingent of on duty and retired commanders.
Many of them were present for this last tribute to their friend and colleague, many remembering the good times from his early days of playing ball in the streets of his beloved Carroll Gardens, to his beginnings as a cop in the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn Heights where he walked a beat and began his efforts to bridge the gaps between residents.
But it was his days in Coney Island that he always loved, especially the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Forth of July where he famously distributed discount tickets for hot dogs. His friends say he probably could’ve competed against the best of them.
Among those on hand were state Attorney General Letitia James, nearly all the top line chiefs of department and hundreds of police officers. Chief Scholl was given full department honors with a motorcade and the NYPD Pipes and Drums leading the hearse from nearby Leone Funeral Home.
“He was a proud Brooklynite – never wanted to leave and those couple of years away from the borough were tough for him,” said his son Andrew, his brother Chris also a lieutenant in the NYPD. “A Brooklynite once said a life is not important except the impact it has on other people’s lives. The group of people here today embodies the validity of that quote. he would say ‘what do you need, what can I do’ and with a shout, he’d be there with a phone call.”
This was true in the field too at any time of day. Scholl would often show up not in dress blue uniform, but in a Yankees sweatshirt and shorts; whether eating dinner with family, or in the middle of the night when his officers needed him.
Chief of Brooklyn South Michael Kemper spoke of Scholl as being so smart, he graduated from John Jay College with a 4.0 average. He said he could speak several languages, including Yiddish that he picked up from the Crown Heights and Borough Park communities.
“He seemed to know a lot about everything,” Chief Kemper said. “He had a keen ability to connect with everyone he met. He understood all religions and cultures. The guy seemed like he could speak every language. He even spoke Yiddish — who, with a background like Chucky, could do that.”
Kemper said he was also an “outstanding athlete.” His friends in Cobble Hill approved of that idea.
“I was never at his caliber. He was a much better athlete that I was,” said Chief Mike Magliano, Chief of Department of NYS Court Officers and a childhood friend of Scholl. “He was a very loyal and true friend. He had heart, soul and character – he never changed or deferred from who he was or his upbringing. He never forgot the people he encountered – from the highest and the lowest. He treated everyone with utmost courtesy and respect. It’s a huge loss.”
“I knew him 32 years, and I drove him, he was a good man,” added Detective Tommy Nihill, a community affairs officer at Brooklyn South. “In the community, he was loved by everybody from the smallest person, the homeless he took care of to the elected officials. He treated everyone equally. He could calm down an excited prisoner, get him a glass of water and get them to comply whatever officers needed. He loved Coney Island, but he just lived Brooklyn.”
Retired Chief of Transit Joseph Fox said he knew Scholl for more than 40 years and “never stood on rank.”
“He was never a title, never a rank. Chuck was humanity,” Fox said. “He would do the best he could with every rank he served and put it to love and caring for every fellow human being. My favorite moment with him was when I walked in on him pretending to be a cleaner with 15 rookies who just graduated the academy. He was pushing a broom around. He stopped at one point and announced he was Inspector Scholl, CO of the precinct. ‘I did that to remind you that everyone deserves respect in this world, no matter what your title — because you deserve it.'”
Scholl is survived by his wife Darcie and three children Amanda (who accepted the department flag from Chief Kemper), and his two sons Andrew and Chris. He was interred at Green-Wood Cemetery, a place he enjoyed to go for its peace and quiet.