Grand Jury Witness Gunned Down In New York
Herman Rosenthal was a gangster who ran several gambling houses in Manhattan, New York. He wanted to expand out of his territory and to do so he was supposed to pay protection moneyto NY Police lieutenant Charles Becker who controlled the Tenderloin, a seamy area where Rosenthal hoped to move. Rosenthal was politically connected with New York’s corrupt Tammany Hall and thought these connections would shield him from Becker’s shakedown. Becker reacted by threatening Rosenthal and taking 20% of all his gambling operations. Rosenthal retaliated by talking to journalist Herbert Bayard Swope of the NEW YORK WORLD, telling him about Becker’s graft. Swope wrote it up. A grand jury was convened and Rosenthal was called to testify.
The night before he was to appear in court Rosenthal was at a hotel cafe when he was spotted by Louis “Bridgie” Webber, a fellow gangster who was under Becker’s protection. A year previously Rosenthal had hired 2 thugs to beat Webber for luring away customers. Webber went to one of his gambling dens and gathered a group of gunmen that included Harry “Gyp the Blood” Horowitz and “Lefty” Louie Rosenberg. They pulled up in front of the hotel and Rosenthal was told to come outside. When he did gunmen got off five shots. Rosenthal was hit in the neck, nose and head.
On July 16, 1912 Herman Rosenthal died of his wounds. Although there have been dozens of gangland murders in New York City, this case is front page news and Becker is an obvious suspect.