Mario Biaggi, a celebrated New York City police officer who served for two decades as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives before resigning in 1988 after federal corruption convictions, died June 24 at his home in Riverdale, New York. He was 97.

A granddaughter, Alessandra Biaggi, confirmed his death but did not cite a specific cause. Biaggi reportedly suffered from colon cancer in recent years. For decades, he had used a cane, crutches and, at times, a wheelchair, the consequence of a confrontation with a runaway horse in the line of police duty in 1946.

A son of Italian immigrants, Biaggi grew up in a New York City tenement and served 23 years with the New York Police Department. He received nearly two dozen citations – reportedly one of the highest tallies in the department’s history – and was sometimes described as the most decorated police officer in the United States.

A pair of the awards recognized his actions during confrontations in which he fatally shot two men, one of them a suspect who tried to attack him with an ice pick.

In 1968, he won a vacant seat in a House district covering a portion of the Bronx. His legislative accomplishments included winning passage of a ban on the armor-piercing ammunition known as “cop killer” bullets and helping establish the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington. Constituent services helped Biaggi amass the political power base from which he won nine congressional re-election races.

He mounted a bid for New York City mayor in 1973, but the campaign failed after questions arose about his testimony in earlier grand jury proceedings about his financial dealings and other matters. Biaggi had invoked the Fifth Amendment.

Biaggi’s most serious ethics investigations were aired during two federal criminal trials in the late 1980s. In one case, he was charged with illegally accepting a Florida trip from Meade Esposito, one of the city’s Democratic power brokers, in exchange for his efforts to accelerate federal contracts with a Brooklyn ship-repair company. In the other case, Biaggi was accused of extorting stock payments in exchange for political favors on behalf of Wedtech, a once small tool-and-die shop in the Bronx that became a massive military contractor.