Petrosino, Giuseppe Joseph
1860 - Born on August 30th in Salerno, Campania, Italy. Petrosino was an Italian-American detective in the New York City Police Department in the early 1900s who was assigned to investigate the Mafia, an Italian organized-crime group that was well established in the immigrant Italian community in New York.
- Petrosino was already a legend in Italy where he was called the “Italian Sherlock Holmes".
1873 - Came to New York with his family.
1883 - When he joined the Police Department, Petrosino was the city’s shortest officer, at five feet and three inches tall.
1895 - Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt personally promoted him to Sergeant of Detectives.
1901 - While investigating anarchists in the United States, Petrosino warned President McKinley of threats against his life; however, the warning was not heeded and the President was assassinated.
- He then became a detective lieutenant assigned to New York's Little Italy where it was believed the "Black Hand" Italian criminal organization was operating.
1909 - He was assassinated by Mafia gunmen on March 12th in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.
- He was murdered in Palermo while on special assignment to investigate organized crime (only NYPD officer killed in the line of duty overseas).
1991 - Petrosino's name is honored in the National Law Enforcement Memorial, erected in Washington, D.C.
Page last updated: 12:44am, 12th Jul '07