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When Mickey wasn’t selling papers and hustling on the streets he was boxing. Mobsters s1e25: Mickey Cohen
Where he had failed as a boxer he hoped to succeed as a gangsta. Mickey Cohen would soon meet another notorious Jewish mobster – Bugsy Siegel. Together they would re-write mob history in Los Angeles. ibid.
Mickey Cohen was ready to take on Hollywood. ibid.
When visionary New York gangsta Meyer Lansky looked west he saw an untapped resource. Lansky wanted to secure some of the rackets for himself ... Siegel was the perfect choice for Lansky. ibid.
Off-track betting was still illegal. It was a high-stakes racket. Bookmakers would pay as much as twelve-hundred dollars a week for access. ibid.
And when Mickey went out he liked attention. ibid.
For the first time in his life Mickey Cohen felt he was on the A-List. ibid.
While Mickey embraced life in LA, Bugsy Siegel was bored with the same old Hollywood scene. In 1945 Bugsy came up with an idea that he pitched to the Mob families – an investment opportunity: the Flamingo hotel. A first-class destination in Las Vegas, Nevada, complete with a hundred and five rooms, private bungalows, and a casino. Siegel told them all they had to do was put up the money to build the place and watch their wallets grow. ibid.
By the time Mickey arrived in Las Vegas it was too late. The hotel was already $5 million over budget. Bugsy had promised the Mob a sure thing; The Flamingo was anything but ... The assassin fired into the house hitting Bugsy three times in the head, killing him instantly. Bugsy Segal had bet everything on Vegas. And lost. ibid.
With Bugsy dead, Mickey Cohen operated LA’s illegal gambling and wire service himself: Mickey Cohen was now the boss of Hollywood. And when Mickey went out, the locals took notice. ibid.
The underworld attracted the attention of the Senate sub-committee on organised crime ... For hours Mickey answered questions. ibid.
In April 1951 the once lucky gangsta was formally charged with tax evasion. ibid.
Even in prison Mickey was a big player ... After almost four years in prison Mickey was released for good behaviour. Cohen was a free man again. ibid.
Mickey took divorce badly. ibid.
Mickey agreed to an unprecedented interview on The Mike Wallace Show ... ‘I have killed no men that in the first place didn’t deserve killing.’ ibid.
The Feds sent him away again: for tax evasion. This time he was sent to Alcatraz. ibid.
The Mobster was partially paralysed and would have to walk with sticks for the rest of his life. ibid.
Times had changed and many of his associates had died. By the end of 1973 Mickey was a shell of his former self. But still enjoyed watching a fight. ibid.
Mickey Cohen died in his sleep. ibid.
The race-wire broadcast the results to bookmaking runs throughout Los Angeles. So that people could lay bets up to the last moment. It was split-second timing. And Mickey [Cohen] was the king. James Ellroy, author LA Confidential
Mickey Cohen didn’t spend time at school; he spent time on the street as a newsboy scuffling for pennies and for coins. Bruce Henstell, author Sunshine and Wealth
The Number One issue at that time was police brutality. So by the time you get to the early sixties you had an environment that was ripe for riot, and that is exactly what happened. Alex Alonso, street gangs online
A brutal prison gang called the Mexican Mafia … The Mexican Mafia was born in one of the most violent prisons in California. Gangland s1e3: Code of Conduct, History 2007
You join for life – no exceptions. ibid.
These soldiers on the streets ensure a steady supply of money to the gang’s leaders nearly all of whom are behind bars. ibid.
They had no hierarchy, no bosses, no one man in charge. ibid.
La eMe’s most lucrative racket – selling drugs. ibid.
By the early 1990s the Mexican Mafia was the most powerful gang in California. ibid.
They’ll destroy anyone in their way. Hundreds of gangs draw battle lines from one district to the next. In a racially charged war everyone becomes a target. And no-one sees an end in sight. Gangland s1e5: Race Wars, History 2007
A violent sub-culture. Its inhabitants live and die in a vast war-zone that stretches across LA county. Home to more than nine hundred street gangs. Bloods and Crips rule south-central ... They fight for dominance. ibid.
Black and Hispanic gangs hold absolute power in some parts of the neighbourhood. ibid.
Drug dealing and the territory that goes with it is power. ibid.
The gang capital of the world is also the most diverse city. ibid.
Race is now playing a leading role in gang-related killings ... People are targeted for having the wrong coloured skin. ibid.
Entire neighbourhoods get drawn in. ibid.
In south-central Los Angeles on April 29th 1992 one of the worst race riots erupted in American history. The trigger was the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King. ibid.
Race-based violence had been a part of Los Angeles for almost a century. ibid.
In the late 1960s many gang members joined the Black Nationalist Movement. Groups like the Black Panthers promoted black power and self-defence. And launched social programmes to help the urban poor. ibid.
Gangs explored ever greater money-making opportunities with the rise of crack cocaine. Kids who grew up in poverty were selling thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs a day. ibid.
Drugs raised the stakes of the turf wars. ibid.
The first and most prominent of these gangs was the Crips who rose to power in the 1970s. ibid.
Since the early 1990s police have seen violence on the streets increase between Black and Latino gangs. ibid.
There’s a gang-related shooting here almost every day. ibid.
The racist attitudes that divide Black and Hispanic gang members in prison often become ingrained in them before the time they return to the outside world. ibid.
It’s a war that’s been fought on the streets of California for forty years. It started deep inside these prison walls and over time spilled out on to the streets. Those individuals are the elite members of Nuestra Familia. Order is maintained through discipline and fear. Gangland s1e10: Blood In, Blood Out, History 2008
It’s a blood in blood out oath that once taken can’t be revoked. ibid.
The NF faces competition from its long-term rival the Mexican Mafia. ibid.
The Mexican Mafia is the most influential prison gang in California. Gangland s1e13: Root of All Evil, History 2008