The dispute began over the weekend, when Councilman Jeffrey Johnson had emailed his colleagues to express his disapproval of the proposed ordinance, which he said is "making our city a joke across the world."How'd we get here? Besides general council incompetence? That's not entirely clear. Councilperson Mamie Mitchell proposed the ordinance and fellow council member Phyllis Cleveland signed as a co-sponsor, but merely as a gesture, and no one can explain why anyone wanted "Don King Way" moved in the first place.
During an interview Monday afternoon, Council President Kevin Kelley said that he intends never to call up the Don King Way proposal for a council vote.
"These things usually come pretty buttoned up. We've only ever had one go bad, and that was Gerald McFaul Road," Kelley said, referring to West 3rd Street, once named in honor of the disgraced former Cuyahoga County sheriff. "When this piece came to Finance, nobody could tell me what streets they were or why we were doing it. So we just held it. And between now and then, it's only gotten worse."
King held off the wise guys and his power grew. He was both beloved and feared. Then came 1966 when an employee, Sam Garrett, “ran off with (some) money,” according to King.King was pardoned by the governor and, of course, went on to national boxing fame, and along the way most people forgot about the killing and King became a worldwide celebrity and a treasure to some in his hometown.
King hunted Garrett down at a local bar, dragged him outside and proceeded to engage in what police charged was a hellacious battle. Garrett wound up dead, his head smashed against the sidewalk.
“We were fighting,” King said Tuesday. “(It was) what I call the frustrations of the ghetto expressing themselves. And when you’re fighting in the ghetto, as you can see nowadays, and it was even worse then, you don’t (back down). So you go out there, you’re kicking and fighting and you have a tragic occurrence.
“His head hit the ground. Those are the things that happen.”
King wound up having his charge reduced to manslaughter (a sweetheart deal) and was shipped to the Marion Correctional Institute for just four years.