Today in LES History: Officer Petrosino is Gunned Down in Sicily

Posted on: March 12th, 2015 at 10:31 am by

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Photo: Telegraph

On this day in…

1909 – Giuseppe “Joseph” Petrosino was gunned down in Palermo, Sicily. Petrosino was the first Italian-speaking police officer in the NYPD and commander of the “Italian Squad” – a pioneering anti-mafia outfit based out of the Fifth Precinct on Elizabeth Street. A law passed in 1909 allowed deportations of criminals in country less than three years; this trip to Sicily was meant to investigate some problem stooges back home (of which there was a long list).

It took more than a hundred years for the Italian authorities to determine that the killer was Paolo Palazzotto, of the Palazzotto family of Palermo.

A small park on Lafayette Street was named after the fallen officer in 1987.

Today in LES History is compiled by Lower East Side History Project, an award-winning non-profit organization which offers research, consulting and daily public and private walking tours. See the full schedule here: http://leshp.org.

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