Top cop Joseph Esposito retires

Joseph Esposito is seen here comforting Tatiana Timoshenko, the mother of Detective Russel Timoshenko, killed in the line of duty. (Credit: Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images.)
Joseph Esposito is seen here comforting Tatiana Timoshenko, the mother of Detective Russel Timoshenko, killed in the line of duty. Credit: Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The top-ranking cop in the NYPD, Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, retired on Wednesday.

His retirement comes as a result of city administrative code, which states that no uniformed officer can work past his 63rd birthday.

Esposito was known throughout his career for preferring to work on the street over his office, according to the Wall Street Journal, and in particular for his presence during Occupy Wall Street.

On Oct. 16, 2011, Esposito pushed his way into the middle of a rising altercation between riot police, as well as police horses, and a group of protesters scrambling to avoid being trampled, the Journal reported. Esposito directed his subordinates to retreat, much to their surprise, he recalled.

The protesters apparently erupted into cheers, some even chanting the chief’s name.

“Isn’t that great?” Esposito said to the Journal. “Isn’t that absolutely phenomenal?”

Esposito’s involvement in Occupy Wall Street was not always celebrated, however. In a video last March, Esposito was seen hitting a protester with a baton.

The video has since been removed, but the New York Times described Esposito’s actions: Apparently the chief was instructing protesters to stay on the sidewalk, and when one protester did not obey, Esposito struck him on the shoulder twice.

“You can’t make everyone happy all the time,” Esposito told the Journal, speaking of such incidents.

Various reports indicate that the chief was a beloved figure in the force, and in an interview with CBS, Esposito expressed his love for his job.

“I haven’t worked a day in 44-and-a-half years,” he said. “Every day has been a pleasure coming to work.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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