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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Organized Crime, Mafia and Gangsters: Cops and G-Men

Guide for Library Research on Crime, Mafia, and Gangsters; Now Including Crime Fiction

G-Men

G-Men

G-Man is a slang reference to FBI agents. It stands for "Government Man" and is attributed by FBI muth to "Machine Gun" Kelly who surrendered at one point in 1933 shouting "Don't shoot, G-Men!"

Allan Pinkerton

Allan Pinkerton

Allan Pinkerton

Pinkerton was a law enforcement pioneer. He was founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, still in existence today and served as head of the Union Intelligence Service during the Civil War. (Intellignece Service eventually developed into what is known today as the Secret Service.) He died in Chicago in 1884.

The Untouchables

The Untouchables

From 1929 to 1931 the law enforcement team led by Eliot Ness was known as the Untouchables, a nickname given to describe their incorruptiblity while they aggressively enforced Prohbition laws against Al Capone and his gangsters.

Frank Serpico

Frank Serpico

Francesco Vincent Serpico

Frank Serpico is a retired NYPD officer famous for bringing attention to police corruption in the 1960s and 1970s. His actions compelled the mayor at the time, John Lindsay to appoint the Knapp Commission to investigate the police department.

Donny Brasco

Donny Brasco

Joseph Dominick Pistone

Known under his undercover alias as Donnie Brasco, Joseph Pistone is a former FBI agent who spent six years infiltrating into the Bonanno crime family. He was a pioneer for long-term, deep undercover work which up to that point had been avoided due to J. Edgar Hoovers fear of corruption to the agents involved.

Lloyd George Sealy

Lloyd George Sealy

Lloyd George Sealy

Lloyd George Sealy commanded the 28th precinct in the 1960s, being only the second black to command a precinct in NYC at the time. In 1966, he became the first Black Assistant Chief Inspector and the first black commander of the Brooklyn North Patrol Service Area, which encompassed 11 Brooklyn precincts. He was the most prominent and visible black police officer in New York at the time. In 1969 Sealy resigned from the police department and joined John Jay College as an Associate Professor of Law and Police Science.

For more information on Lloyd George Sealy, click HERE. To view an exhibit on his personal papers, click HERE.

J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

John Edgar Hoover

Hoover was the first and longest serving director of the FBI. He was appointed in 1924 to the Bureau of Investigation which in 1935 would become the Federal Bureau of Investigation and remained in control until his death in 1972. Hoover built the FBI into a modern crime fighting force.

Eliot Ness

Eliot Ness

Eliot Ness

Eliot Ness was an FBI agent who achieved fame as leader of a team of law enforcement agents known as the Untouchables. He is considered to have been a driving force behind the dethroning and eventual imprisonment of Al Capone. He died of a heart attack at the age of 54.

Melvin Purvis

Melvin Purvis

Melvin Horace Purvis, Jr.

Melvin Purvis was an FBI official who led the manhunts of Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger. J. Edgar Hoover was jealous of the limelight that Purvis attracted which overshadowed him and the rest of the FBI. Purvis died of a gunshot wound to the head in 1960. The FBI ruled it a suicide.

Frank Hamer

Frank Hamer

Francis Augustus Hamer

Frank Hamer was the Texas Ranger who hunted down and killed Bonnie and Clyde in 1934. He was considered to be a legendary Texas Ranger and is in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. He died in 1955 at the age of 71.

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith

Izzy (Isidor/Isadore) Einstein and Moe Smith (Izzy on the left, Moe on the right)

 

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith were agents of the US Prohibition Unit who became famous for their use of disguises to successfully shut down speakeasies. They made close to 5000 arrests and got convictions in 95 percent of the cases. They were eventually laid off by Prohibition Bureau heads who had become jealous of their success and popularity. The two men eventually moved on and worked as insurance salesmen. Izzy died in 1938. Moe died in 1960.

Thomas Dewey

Thomas Dewey

Thomas Edmund Dewey

Dewey was eventually governor of New York and Republican candidate for President in 1944 and 1948 but lost to FDR and Harry Truman respectively. Before he became governor he achieved fame as a federal prosecutor investigating corruption. He made enemies of Dutch Schultz who decided to kill Dewey but was himself killed by the mafia who feared a crackdown if a popular prosecutor like Dewey were to be assassinated. Dewey eventually managed to get Lucky Luciano convicted for running a prostitution racket and got him a 30 year prison term. Dewey was publically popular because he was considered to be honest. He died of a heart attack in 1971.

Albert Seedman

Albert Seedman

Albert A. Seedman

A NYPD detective, he was the only Jewish officer to ever hold the position of chief of detectives. Seedman was a prominent face in NYC law enforcement in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. He died in Florida in 2013.

Thomas Byrnes

Thomas Byrnes

Detective Thomas Byrnes
Photo from New York City Police, Images of America series, by Joshua Fuff p. 29
Available in Library General Collection, Call Number HV8148 .N5 R84 2011

The father of modern detective work, Thomas Byrnes is also behind the origin of the term "giving someone the third degree", which developed to describe the rough type of interrogations that he preformed.

George Samuel Dougherty

George Samuel Dougherty

Detective George Samuel Dougherty

George Samuel Dougherty wasthe head of the NYPD Detectives Bureau and one of the leading detectives in America in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Giuseppe Joseph Petrosino

 

Giuseppe Joseph Petrosino

Lt. Joseph Petrosino (Link)

Guiseppe Joseph Petrosino was the first Italian-American to lead the Homicide division of the NYPD. He was eventually put in charge of the "Italian Squad", a group of Italian-American detectives organized specifically to deal with the Mafia. He was assasinated by the Italian Mafia while visiting Palermo in 1909.

Samuel J. Battle

Samuel J. Battle

Lt. Samuel J. Battle 1941 (Link)

Samuel Jesse Battle was the first black police officer in the city of Brooklyn, later New York City. In 2009, the 135th and Lenox Avenue in New York City was named after him.

Milton Wolf

Milton Wolf

Police Officer Milton Wolf
Photo from New York City Police, Images of America series, by Joshua Fuff p. 78
Available in Library General Collection, Call Number HV8148 .N5 R84 2011

 

One of the first Jewish policemen to walk a beat in Sheapshead Bay Brooklyn and a member of Shomrim, the fraternal organization for Jewish police officers. His unpublished biography is owned by the New York City Police Museum.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

President, author, soldier, explorer and historian are just a few of the many roles that Teddy Roosevelt had in his life. In law enforcement, he was president of the board of NYC Police Commissioners from 1895-1897, a period in which he reformed the New York police force. Roosevelt implemented regular firearm inspections, annual physical exams, and recruited on merit rather than political affiliation. He faced down Tammany Hall which moved against him by legislating the Police Commission Roosevelt was on out of existence. When Roosevelt became governor of New York, he established a single Police Commissioner rather than a board. Roosevelt died in 1919.