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Carmine Galante didn’t die from smoking little cigars, but he still got smoked

A person of heroin interest.

Recent events around the Old Blog Coach’s yard brings back memories of the New York neighborhood.

Heroin may not be on your radar, but it is stealthy. You don’t know until it’s too late, according to some heroin addicts parents.

Still, no need to blame yourselves if your kid spikes it and likes it. It’s not your fault.

If there is a fault, why not availability. You can’t ride the heroin train if it doesn’t make a stop near you.

During my Brooklyn days I mingled with the locals. It’s what you do if you’re not a shut-in recluse.

This is one of the people I met.

The ‘Little Cigar’ ran the American end of heroin importing.

If a dapper Frenchman in Marseille ran that end, a mean eyed ‘Lilo’ ran this end.

Did Popeye Doyle know Carmine Galante?

This was a man who frightened seasoned FBI men with his death stare.  His face was the last thing many saw.

For his world, Carmine Galante came to an expected end. Call it early retirement.

I call it a memory of place that sort of ruins the overall mood of the time.

We know about The Godfather.  We’ve heard of Vito Genovese.

We’ve even heard of Kitty Genovese, no relation to The Don.

But what about Carmine Galante?

I met the son of a Galante ‘Captain’ in Brooklyn. He ran the neighborhood, I lived there for the rent.

We were the only white guys on the sidewalk most of the time. It was exotic for this Oregon son.

This guy, Joey, was dealing and stealing his way back into the Family’s good graces after making a few mistakes.

He beat up the wrong guys a few times. Meeting him made me think he wasn’t done beating on people.

If I had known he was a gangster I would have been more respectful. Instead I gave him the same response I’d give anyone asking bonehead questions.

I’d been to the laundry, the one where the guy who hung around told stories about being at Woodstock, and walking back to my place with my Army duffle bag of clean clothes on my back.

Some guy crosses the street and follows me into a candy store. He looks like he saw Rocky I so many times it affected his style.

He looked like a South Philly collector, not a Brooklyn guy.

Either way, in my neighborhood I always had an eye out for followers. Seemed like the right way to stay on the safe side.

Besides, it was Brooklyn, not Tigard, which is one way of understanding why the big deal with suburban activities in 2016.

Call me picky, but I don’t want a gun death on my doorstep.

I saw him come into the bodega, Brooklyn talk for candy store.

“What’s in the bag?” he asked.

“Clothes. I’m running away from home.”

“I didn’t ask for some smart answer.”

“I didn’t ask for some dumb question. I’ve got my laundry. I’m going to fold it. How’s that?”

“Do you know who I am?”

“You’re the guy who crossed the street and followed me in here,” I said in my best Brooklyn style.

“I’m going to tell you one time. This is my neighborhood. If you need drugs or hubcaps you see me. Understand? If I hear you deal with anyone else I’m coming looking for you.”

Hubcabs? I’d need a car before I needed new hubcaps, but now I knew who to call.

“I’m not hard to find. Look, I’m right here.”

With that said, we hit it off.

The son of a gangster liked my act. He worked the street looking to move up. Maybe I could get his job?

We had lunch where known gangsters stopped to eat. Known to him. Like his dad.

He was a young man with a future in the business.

It happened for him after Carmine Galante stepped aside.

Lilo the Little Cigar died hanging onto his last little cigar.

I left town just before he got his promotion.

From chronic pain, to painkillers, to heroin, these are the people you meet.

If you live in Tigard, Oregon you may not meet Brooklyn toughs, but you know people.

And you know people who’ve come to a bad end with police activities, which is yet another reason why having nine police cars in the driveway can’t be good for everyone.

It wasn’t good for Lukas Glenn.


Just after 3 a.m., Deputy Mikhail Gerba arrived, dispatched to the disturbance with a weapon reported to 9-1-1 by Hope Glenn. Lucas walked quickly toward the deputy, hoping to keep the situation calm, he testified.

Before Lucas reached him, Gerba stepped out of his vehicle with his gun drawn, Lucas said. He tried to tell Gerba that Glenn was by the garage and calming down, Lucas said.

Gerba ordered him to the ground, Lucas said, using profanities. He patted Lucas down and told him not to move as he approached the driveway.

Morales, still kneeling, heard shouting behind him. Gerba walked up the driveway, his duty weapon pointed at Glenn and Morales.

Gerba told Morales to get on the ground. Morales said he lay on his stomach and told the deputy Glenn was drunk and only wanted to hurt himself. He asked Gerba not to use lethal force.

Soon, Deputy Timothy Mateski arrived and joined Gerba’s side. Deputies shouted profanity-laced commands at Glenn, the friends testified. Glenn’s only response, they said, was, “Why are you yelling at me?”

Morales asked the deputies to “please just tase him.” Mateski told Morales to shut up, he said.

After a few minutes of the deputies shouting at Glenn to drop the knife, the friends watched him die.

They first saw another officer hit Glenn with a shotgun beanbag round. Glenn doubled over, took a couple of steps toward the house and grabbed his waistband with his left hand, as if trying to hold up his pants.

Beanbag rounds continued to fly and the deputies opened live fire. Within 11 seconds, Glenn was struck with five beanbag rounds and eight gunshots.

Lukas Glenn was a high school athlete while my kids played. They were on the same football teams.

Mrs. Glenn was on of my kids youth soccer coaches.

It might be easy to read about drug deaths.

It might be easy to read stories about police shooting.

As long as they come from far, far, away it doesn’t hit home as hard.

When it hits close to home it leaves a mark.

If you believe there are things you see that you can’t un-see, no one wants to see police gun death out of their front window.

Call it prevention.

About David Gillaspie
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