|Charles 'Lucky' Lucania, 1931.|
On the evening of February 2, all hell broke loose in Manhattan, or so it has been implied, when two Jersey cops decided to spend their day off in Big Apple, and crossed paths with one Charles Lucania, aka Lucky.
No News is Good News?
To jump forward a bit, the altercation ultimately provided one of the baddest of badass mugshots the world of organized crime had seen to that point, but oddly – very few details of the incident have ever surfaced to accompany the sinister picture. So then, what happened? If one were to fill in some blanks with their own theories, then perhaps it's safe to say that fate, destiny, and possibly a lot of mouth-running and temper-flaring led to an physical altercation, subsequent arrest, unusual dismissal, and most peculiar - barely a damn thing ever mentioned in the media. Therefore, this little anecdote is rife with theoretical possibilities. Here's the lowdown on facts, hearsay and outlying oddities:
As Luciano's lengthy rap sheet clearly discloses, he was arrested on February 2, 1931 and charged with two first-degree felony assaults. On February 4, he stood before Judge Joseph F. Mulqueen in the Court of Common Sessions, whereby both felony indictments were discharged; case dismissed.Seems fairly cut and dry, but here's where it all gets interesting...
"Lucky was accused of participating in a vulgar street brawl, beating up two Jersey City policemen who had ventured across the river into Manhattan." - Hickman Powell, from Lucky Luciano: The Man Who Organized Crime
|Back of mugshot. Luciano's chosen alias of the day was 'Charles Reed'.|
Further adding intrigue to the entire scenario was the controversial judge who dismissed the charges. Joseph Mulqueen had chalked up a high number of dismissals during his time on the bench, which was certainly an issue raised by his detractors. That fact, paired with a documented denial of gang existence, makes for all the more conspiratorial fun and conjecture.
Notwithstanding the Judge's record and often-contentious reputation, the case may have been in Luciano's favor simply because the two out-of-town, off-duty cops may have rather saved some face than explain why they were involved in a fight in the first place. Or perhaps the duo of Officers Phillips and Henshaw did appear in court and Mulqueen heard the explanation, dismissing on principal. The answer we do not know... yet. Rest assure, there's one crime historian who's definitely going to dig for the facts, and hopefully divulge a 'part two' to this little underworld mystery.