Cash money witness
MAD MIKE: He’s been called a hit man in the ring, but now a witness has testified that Mike Tyson put up money to order revenge killings of two New York drug lords.
One of the things about being a non–Pacific Islander guy with a giant tribal tattoo on your face is that people are forever questioning your judgment. In that sense, it’s hard not to sympathize with Mike Tyson. Ever since he stopped whupping ass in the ring — which by now feels like about 40 years ago — Tyson’s been in a constant race to keep his reputation from plummeting through the floor. His civilian career has been filled with drugs, violence, and other lowlights, but the worst of all might be happening just now.
In a very weird twist of fate, Tyson was named by a witness in the trial of Brooklyn mobster Abubakr Raheem as a conspirator in a murder plot to execute a pair of well-known drug lords — Damion “World” Hardy and Edward “Taz” Cooke, heads of the so-called Cash Money Brothers gang. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because the gang stole it from the Wesley Snipes hood film New Jack City.
This is a confusing story, but the outline of it goes something like this: Tyson was upset about the shooting death of Darryl “Homicide” Baum, who had been Tyson’s bodyguard in 2000. Baum was shot two weeks before Tyson beat up eternal tomato can Lou Savarese; when Tyson won that fight, he dedicated it to Baum. It was Baum, however, who allegedly shot rapper 50 Cent nine times about a month before Baum was killed — and when Baum was killed, Fitty wasted no time gloating over his death (“I put a hole in a nigga for fucking with me/ . . . He got hit like I got hit, but he ain’t fucking breathing”).
Now, the upshot of all of this is that it was allegedly the CMB who ordered the hit on Baum. This reportedly irked Tyson, who — according to a witness named Dwayne Meyers — put up $50,000 as part of a bounty on Cooke and Hardy. According to Meyers, Tyson was joined in pitching in to the pot by Muhammad Nur, another noted gangland figure and fellow friend of Baum’s. When asked why Tyson would put out the money for a hit on “Taz” and “World,” Meyers said, “He was close friends with ‘Homicide.’ ”
A murder rap for Tyson would be an enormous story, and might finally throw the national spotlight on an out-of-control gangland scene in New York involving rappers, athletes, and other entertainers. We’ll see how Iron Mike and the Brooklyn prosecutors respond — in the meantime, let’s give Tyson 50 points, if only because the sole evidence we have so far is witness testimony. If this gets to an indictment, we’ll jack it up to 95. In the meantime, stay tuned.
Wheelie of misfortune
An NFL player was arrested this past month for what appears to be a new addition to the sports-crime ledger: popping wheelies.
Sports-crime aficionados may recognize the name of Gerald Sensabaugh, the Jacksonville Jaguars safety who just a year ago was one of several Jags busted during the offseason. Sensabaugh’s March 2007 arrest was a run-of-the-mill unregistered-heater-in-glove-box deal (a charge that was later dropped); this year’s arrest was for reckless driving on a motorcycle, back in his native Tennessee. The police report said he was “doing wheelies.” Sensabaugh disagreed.
“I was taking my bike to storage at a friend’s house,” Sensabaugh said. “I guess I was running too fast. I wasn’t doing a wheelie or anything. He pulled me over and took me in. That was pretty much the story right there.”
There sure have been a lot of motorcycle-related sports-crime stories of late. There was the obvious Carl Eller madman story, much detailed in this space. And Vancouver Canucks rookie Luc Bourdon was recently killed in a motorcycle crash. But reckless driving on motorcycles has become something of a boutique offense for NFL players. Why these guys can’t wait until after their careers are over to crack their heads open is hard to grasp, but then again so is giving up your body to block 300-pound linemen.
This is around the time of the year when we start getting a run on NFL defensive-back arrests. Let’s see if Sensabaugh is the opening parry.