Jack "Legs" Diamond (Not Jewish)
Diamond entered crime as a member of a gang called the Hudson Dusters. In 1918-1919, he was jailed for being a US Army deserter. Hired by "Little Augie" Jacob Orgen to murder an enemy, Diamond became Augie's personal bodyguard. He was shot twice when Louis Buchalter, seeking to move in on the labor rackets that Orgen was running in the garment district, shot and killed Orgen.
Diamond then went to work for Buchalter overseeing bootleg alcohol sales in downtown Manhattan. That brought him into conflict with Dutch Schultz, who planned to move beyond his base in Harlem. Diamond was shot five times on one occasion when Schultz's men surprised him at a private dinner and three times on another, when Schultz gunmen opened up with machine guns, killing two bystanders.
On December 18, 1931, Diamond's enemies finally caught up with him, shooting him after he had passed out at a hideout on Dove Street in Albany, New York. The killers shot him three times in the back of the head at approximately 5:30 AM.
There has been much speculation as to who was responsible for the murder, including Dutch Shultz, the Oley Brothers (local thugs), and the Albany Police Department. According to William Kennedy's O Albany, Democratic Party Chairman Dan O'Connell, who ran the local political machine, ordered Diamond's execution, which was carried out by the Albany Police. The following are Dan O'Connell's own words recorded during a 1974 interview by Kennedy and appears on pages 203 and 204:
In order for the Mafia to move in they had to have protection, and they know they'll never get it in this town. We settled that years ago. Legs Diamond...called up one day and said he wanted to go into the 'insurance' business here. He was going to sell strong-arm 'protection' to the merchants. I sent word to him that he wasn't going to do any business in Albany and we didn't expect to see him in town the next morning. He never started anything here.
"Prior brought him around here...but he brought him around once too often. Fitzpatrick finished Legs." O'Connell added that Fitzpatrick (a Police sergeant and future chief) and Diamond were "sitting in the same room and (Fitzpatrick) followed him out. Fitzpatrick told him he'd kill him if he didn't keep going."
Given the power that the O'Connell machine held in Albany and their determination to prevent organized crime from establishing itself in the city and threatening their monopoly of vice, most people accept this account of the story. In addition it has been confirmed by other former machine officials.