Titlu referat: Al Capone
Nivel referat: liceu
Al Capone is America's best-known gangster and
the single greatest symbol of the collapse of law and order in the United
States during the 1920s Prohibition era. Capone had a leading role in the
illegal activities that lent Chicago its reputation as a lawless city.
Al Capone's mug shot, 1931.
Capone was born on January 17, 1899, in
Brooklyn, New York. Baptized "Alphonsus Capone," he grew up in a rough
neighborhood and was a member of two "kid gangs," the Brooklyn Rippers and the
Forty Thieves Juniors. Although he was bright, Capone quit school in the sixth
grade at age fourteen. Between scams he was a clerk in a candy store, a pinboy
in a bowling alley, and a cutter in a bookbindery. He became part of the
notorious Five Points gang in Manhattan and worked in gangster Frankie Yale's
Brooklyn dive, the Harvard Inn, as a bouncer and bartender. While working at
the Inn, Capone received his infamous facial scars and the resulting nickname
"Scar face" when he insulted a patron and was attacked by her brother.
In 1918, Capone met an Irish girl named Mary
"Mae" Coughlin at a dance. On December 4, 1918, Mae gave birth to their son,
Albert "Sonny" Francis. Capone and Mae married that year on December 30.
Capone's first arrest was on a disorderly
conduct charge while he was working for Yale. He also murdered two men while in
New York, early testimony to his willingness to kill. In accordance with
gangland etiquette, no one admitted to hearing or seeing a thing so Capone was
never tried for the murders. After Capone hospitalized a rival gang member,
Yale sent him to Chicago to wait until things cooled off. Capone arrived in
Chicago in 1919 and moved his family into a house at 7244 South Prairie Avenue.
The unpretentious Capone home at 7244
SouthPrairie Avenue, far from Chicago's Loop
andCapone's business headquarters.
Capone went to work for Yale's old mentor,
John Torrid. Torrid saw Capone's potential, his combination of physical
strength and intelligence, and encouraged his portаigаi. Soon Capone was helping Torrid
manage his bootlegging business. By mid-1922 Capone
ranked as Trio’s number
two men and eventually became a full partner in the saloons, gambling houses,
When Torrid was shot by rival gang members
and consequently decided to leave Chicago, Capone inherited the "outfit" and
became boss. The outfit's men liked, trusted, and obeyed Capone, calling him
"The Big Fellow." He quickly proved that he was even better at organization
than Torrid, syndicating and expanding the cities vice industry between 1925
and 1930. Capone controlled speakeasies, bookie joints, gambling houses,
brothels, horse and race tracks, nightclubs, distilleries and breweries at a
reported income of $100,000,000 a year. He even acquired a sizable interest in
the largest cleaning and dyeing plant chain in Chicago.
Although he had been doing business with
Capone, the corrupt Chicago mayor William "Big Bill" Hale Thompson, Jr. decided
that Capone was bad for his political image. Thompson hired a new police chief
to run Capone out of Chicago. When Capone looked for a new place to live, he
quickly discovered that he was unpopular in much of the country. He finally
bought an estate at 93 Palm Island, Florida in 1928.
Political cartoon depicting Chicago's growing
reputation for violence.
Attempts on Capone's life were never
successful. He had an extensive spy network in Chicago, from newspaper boys to
policemen, so that any plots were quickly discovered. Capone, on the other
hand, was skillful at isolating and killing his enemies when they became too
powerful. A typical Capone murder consisted of men renting an apartment across
the street from the victim's residence and gunning him down when he stepped
outside. The operations were quick and complete and Capone always had an alibi.
The Tribune headline after the
St.Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929.
Capone's most notorious killing was the St.
Valentine's Day Massacre. On February 14, 1929, four Capone men entered a
garage at 2122 N. Clark Street. The building was the main liquor headquarters
of bootlegger George "Bugs" Moran's North Side gang. Because two of Capone's
men were dressed as police, the seven men in the garage thought it was a police
raid. As a result, they dropped their guns and put their hands against the
wall. Using two shotguns and two machine guns, the Capone men fired more than
150 bullets into the victims. Six of the seven killed were members of Moran's
gang; the seventh was an unlucky friend. Moran, probably the real target, was
across the street when Capone's men arrived and stayed away when he saw the
police uniforms. As usual, Capone had an alibi; he was in Florida during the
Capone masterminded the 1929 St. Valentine's
DayMassacre, which left seven men dead, but was
inFlorida when it happened. All but one of the
victimswere members of rival "Bugs" Moran's
Although Capone ordered dozens of deaths and
even killed with his own hands, he often treated people fairly and generously.
He was equally known for his violent temper and for his strong sense of loyalty
and honor. He was the first to open soup kitchens after the 1929 stock market
crash and he ordered merchants to give clothes and food to the needy at his
A line outside Capone's "Free Lunch"
restaurant, Al Capone
Capone had headquarters in Chicago proper in
the Four Deuces at 2222 S. Wabash, the Metropole Hotel at 2300 S. Michigan
Avenue, and the Lexington Hotel at 2135 S. Michigan Avenue. He expanded into
the suburbs, sometimes using terror as in Forest View, which became known as
"Caponeville." Sometimes he simply bribed public officials and the police as in
Cicero. He established suburban headquarters in Cicero's Anton Hotel at 4835 W.
22nd Street and in the Hawthorne Hotel at 4823 22nd Street. He pretended to be
an antique dealer and a doctor to front his headquarters.
Capone maintained a five-room suite and
fourguest rooms at the Metropole Hotel (2300
S.Michigan Avenue). The hotel served as his
baseof operations until 1928.
Because of gangland's traditional refusal to
prosecute, Capone was never tried for most of his crimes. He was arrested in
1926 for killing three people, but spent only one night in jail because there
was insufficient evidence to connect him with the murders. When Capone finally
served his first prison time in May of 1929, it was simply for carrying a gun.
In 1930, at the peak of his power, Capone headed Chicago's new list of the
twenty-eight worst criminals and became the city's "Public Enemy Number One."
The popular belief in the 1920s and 30s was
that illegal gambling earnings were not taxable income. However, the 1927
Sullivan ruling claimed that illegal profits were in fact taxable. The
government wanted to indict Capone for income tax evasion, Capone never filed
an income tax return, owned nothing in his own name, and never made a
declaration of assets or income. He did all his business through front men so
that he was anonymous when it came to income. Frank Wilson from the IRS's
Special Intelligence Unit was assigned to focus on Capone. Wilson accidentally
found a cash receipts ledger that not only showed the operation's net profits
for a gambling house, but also contained Capone's name; it was a record of
Capone's income. Later Capone's own tax lawyer Lawrence P. Mattingly admitted
in a letter to the government that Capone had an income. Wilson's ledger,
Mattingly's letter, and the coercion of witnesses were the main evidence used
to convict Capone.
Capone leaving court during his
1931trial for tax evasion.
In 1931, Capone was indicted for income tax
evasion for the years 1925-29. He was also charged with the misdemeanor of
failing to file tax returns for the years 1928 and 1929. The government charged
that Capone owed $215,080.48 in taxes from his gambling profits. A third
indictment was added, charging Capone with conspiracy to violate Prohibition
laws from 1922-31. Capone pleaded guilty to all three charges in the belief
that he would be able to plea bargain. However, the judge who presided over the
case, Judge James H. Wilkerson, would not make any deals. Capone changed his
pleas to not guilty. Unable to bargain, he tried to bribe the jury but
Wilkerson changed the jury panel at the last minute.
The jury that convicted Capone consisted
almostentirely of rural, white men. Among them, a
retiredhardware dealer, a country storekeeper and
a farmer.Judge Wilkerson substituted this jury
for the originaljury to prevent tampering.
The jury found Capone not guilty on eighteen
of the twenty-three counts. Judge Wilkerson sentenced him to a total of ten
years in federal prison and one year in the county jail. In addition, Capone
had to serve an earlier six-month contempt of court sentence for failing to
appear in court. The fines were a cumulative $50,000 and Capone had to pay the
prosecution costs of $7,692.29.
In May 1932, Capone was sent to Atlanta, the
toughest of the federal prisons, to begin his eleven-year sentence. Even in
prison Capone took control, obtaining special privileges from the authorities
such as furnishing his cell with a mirror, typewriter, rugs, and a set of the
Encyclopedia Britannica. Because word spread that Capone had taken over in
Atlanta, he was sent to...
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