APRIL 22, 2022 www.qns.com RIDGEWOOD TIMES
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly speaks at an October 2011 ceremony rededicating Detective Anthony J. Venditti Square in Ridgewood. Photo by Robert Pozarycki
participated in a criminal proceeding.
The second trial also ended in controversy
and fury, as the front page story
on the April 28, 1988, cover of the Ridgewood
Gualtiere was acquitted of the charges
against him on April 20, but two days
later jurors considering the charges
against Giovanelli and Maltese told presiding
Judge John Gallagher that they
were “hopelessly deadlocked.”
After Gallagher declared a mistrial,
“the courtroom exploded,” according to
the Ridgewood Times report.
“Ann Venditti, the dead officer’s mother,
leaped to her feet, screaming in Italian
at Giovanelli, ‘Son of a whore!’ Giovanelli,
turning red, shouted back as attorneys
tried to calm him.
“The detective’s widow, Patricia Venditti,
stood and asked Maltese, ‘Why did you kill
him?’ but Maltese remained seated and
refused to speak.
“The jury was reportedly deadlocked 8
to 4 for acquittal of both defendants on
murder and gun charges, and 7 to 5 for
acquittal of Giovanelli on an aggravated
The Times report went on to note that
a key turning point in the trial occurred
when a witness to the shooting recanted
statements he had made to police that he
witnessed Gualtiere shoot Venditti in the
head. The witness further claimed that
police pressured him into picking Gualtiere
from a lineup; prosecutors charged
that the witness had been intimidated
into changing his testimony.
Two weeks later, the Ridgewood Times
reported that then-Queens District Attorney
John Santucci announced his
NYPD Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti leaves a flower on the memorial plaque at Venditti Square in 2011.
Photo by Robert Pozarycki
intention to re-try Giovanelli and Maltese
for Venditti’s murder. His decision came
after meeting with the slain detective’s
As it happened, Giovanelli and Maltese
would ultimately be acquitted of
the charges in the third Venditti trial.
But both men would wind up in prison
anyway, as they were later convicted of
federal racketeering charges.
Even though justice was never fully
served to the detective’s killers, the
people of Ridgewood keep his memory
alive at the plaza named in his honor. It
stands as a tribute to a good cop who died
doing the job that he loved, in dedication
to the safety and security of every New