Famed Singer Billy Daniels Acquitted Of Harlem Shooting

Billy Daniels
Billy Daniels

Famed crooner Billy Daniels was cleared of a felony gun assault charge on this day (June 19, 1956).

Judge Jacob Gold Shurman threw out two felony assault indictments against the 41-year-old singer.

Daniels was charged with shooting a prizefight trainer named James Jackson, 33, on January 31, 1956.

Daniels, who was riding the success of his hit single “That Old Black Magic,” allegedly shot Mr. Jackson outside of the Harlem Club.

Jackson was treated with a bullet wound to the shoulder, but he refused to tell police who shot him.

An anonymous tip led to the arrest of Billy Daniels, who had just finished a show at the Copacabana, where he was pulling in over $10,000 per-night.

“We hit a couple of spots. I don’t know what happened,” Daniels told reporters shortly after the incident.

“When you get a bit woozy, you don’t know anything. It’s all a blank to me. I had a night out which I never should have had.”

The charges were eventually dismissed on technicalities, including one involving the sister of Sammy Davis Jr.

The judge ruled that the testimony of Ramona Davis, a prosecution witness, was destroyed when she was held in protective custody, which the grand jury was not advised of.

Throughout the years, it was claimed that Billy Daniels was associated with the mafia and was friends with Harlem gangster Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson.

Billy Daniels, a very fair-skinned black, enjoyed a career that lasted over 50 years.

He was also one of the first black performers to have his own weekly radio show.


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