NEW YORK — Philip J. Caruso, an attorney and former union leader who had been a lawyer in the United States Secret Service from 1954 to 1962, died Monday night at his home in Manhattan. He was 86.
Caruso was president of the New York Police Officer’s Benevolent Association from 1970 to 1972.
During his long career in organized labor, the New York City police officer’s union was at the forefront of the war against street crime, called, in part, “Operation Cobra.” Caruso was named president of the Police Officer’s Benevolent Association after the death of John P. Doran in 1966, whom he succeeded. Caruso campaigned for a 42-hour work week as well as a plan to increase law enforcement; it was eventually adopted by the association.
In 1971, Caruso joined the State of New York as a special agent in charge and went on to lead the Secret Service’s New York Division and be the assistant director for Supervisory Division Affairs in charge of support functions. He retired in 1982.
Caruso, who was a legal and financial adviser, taught for many years at Pace University School of Law and was a senior fellow at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington.
He was born on Sept. 26, 1927, in Brooklyn. In his early years, he went on trial for a crime he did not commit as a young man. He was 17, but authorities said he was one of three suspects who robbed a cabdriver, or “car-jacker.” One took a revolver from the cab, shot the driver in the back and ordered him to drive. The other two got out of the cab and fled. The car-jacker, however, was gunned down near a subway stop.
Caruso later said he had been arrested, though he said he had taken no part in the robbery. He said he had a case file with about 30 pages of “hundreds of negatives” of his face, an endocrinologist confirmed that he did indeed have high levels of testosterone.