"System" Not Only Thing Don King Beat

Recalling how Trump pal once killed Cleveland man

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Killer Don King

JULY 7--During a rally last night in Cincinnati, Donald Trump told supporters that he was trying to line up a household name for a speaker’s slot at this month’s Republican convention in Cleveland.

“You know who I just spoke to? Big Don King. Big Don King. Just spoke to him ten minutes ago,” Trump announced. “I said, ‘Don, I’d love for you to speak at the convention because you know what? You beat the system.’ And he’s a friend of mine. Big Don. Greatest boxing promoter of all time.”

While Trump did not say whether King accepted the offer, it is hard to imagine that the 84-year-old would pass up the opportunity to perform his “Only in America” shtick before a large audience.

King, of course, knows Cleveland well. He was born in the Ohio city and began his criminal career there. Long before he ripped off boxers for a living, King was a numbers banker who packed a .357 Magnum in his belt. King lived on a leafy street in Shaker Heights, but ran his criminal operation from a ghetto bar in Cleveland.

It was outside the Manhattan Tap Room where King beat Sam Garrett to death

Angered over an unpaid $600 debt, King pummeled Garrett, knocking the smaller man to the sidewalk. King then began to kick Garrett in the head. As the assault continued, two Cleveland cops driving past the bar stopped their patrol car and jumped out to stop the bloody attack.

As detailed in a police report written by Detective Robert Tonne, King--who had a gun in his right hand--was kicking Garrett “in the face and head.” After being ordered to drop the weapon, King tossed the gun on the trunk of a nearby car, “whereupon he again kicked the victim in the face.”

The unconscious Garrett, 34, was transported to a local hospital, where staff reported that he had “a punctured ear drum, fractured jaw and a possible skull fracture.”

King, who Tonne described as a “known numbers and policy figure,” was handcuffed and questioned by cops. The numbers kingpin claimed to have been defending himself from Garrett, who “owed him some money and refused to pay.” Cops seized King’s loaded gun, his clothing, and his shoes as evidence.

After Garrett died of his injuries, King was charged with second-degree murder, for which he was found guilty. A judge, however, later reduced the conviction to non-negligent manslaughter, a felony for which King spent four years in state prison.

Garrett was not the first man King killed. In December 1954, he shot Hillary Brown in the back as Brown sought to rob one of King’s gambling spots. A police review of the shooting judged it to be a justifiable homicide.

If King takes the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena this month, he will be entertaining Republican delegates just four miles from the spot where he savagely beat Garrett to death (and delivered one final kick to the prone man’s head while cops looked on).

The Manhattan Tap Room, King’s former hangout, has long been demolished. (1 page)