The Execution of Officer Becker: The Murder of a Gambler, the Trial of a Cop, and the Birth of Organized Crime
Lieutenant Charles Becker was the only New York City police officer ever executed for murder. He was convicted of orchestrating the gangland slaying of a small-time gambler named Herman (Beansie) Rosenthal in the summer of 1912. Becker was convicted twice, in showcase trials, and died in Sing Sing's electric chair in 1915. The murder and the trial were front-page news in all twelve New York City newspapers for three years. Sensational as the case was on its own, it was given impetus by the fact that Becker was found to be a central figure in a network of police graft and political corruption whose effects were felt in City Hall, the state capital, and finally throughout the nation. For added measure, there was the strong likelihood that Becker, though clearly a cop on the take, had nothing to do with the murder of Rosenthal.
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