Steak Knives and Crack Pipes: Overtown Feud Lands Former Pimp in Jail

Maybe it's street karma. After a decade as a pimp and a hit man, Overtown street hustler Big Red could finally be brought down by a small-potatoes probation violation.This past summer, New Times profiled the entrepreneurial ex-convict who faced long odds when it came to his goal: Survive on the streets of Overtown without breaking the law. 

After the article was published, Red got a steady gig standing guard in front of a renovated building on NW Third Avenue. Though he was paid a decent wage (under the table), he remained homeless. He stayed out of serious trouble, though four police reports detail an ongoing conflict between Red and a 75-year-old man. Reports show the two took turns calling the cops on each other four times in the past eight months.

Last August 8, McMillan confronted the former pimp at NW Second Avenue and NW 11th Street. The older fellow -- a wiry retiree named John McMillan -- was pissed at Red for selling clean needles and glass pipes. He "approached [Red] with a knife," swung it, and yelled, "I am going to kill you!" according to police reports. McMillan was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. (The case is still open.) The following month, the knife-wielding granddaddy told cops that Red "ran up... and began to punch him in the head and chest." This time, Red was arrested and charged with assault on an elder. (He was placed on probation.)

The feud wasn't over. This past January 9, while Red was sweeping the sidewalk at the same location, McMillan approached him again. "He pulled out a six-inch steak knife," according to police reports, "and said, 'I'm going to get you!'" McMillan was charged a second time with aggravated assault. (The case is open.)

Red's latest charge could land him in jail for five years. About a month ago -- at 3:30 p.m. this past March 9 -- cops arrested him again. The crime: violating probation. He allegedly failed to say away from McMillan. Mow in Metro West Detention Center, Red isn't going down without a fight. This past week, he penned a letter to Miami Circuit Court Judge Orlando Prescott. The note contends he was cleaning the sidewalk when McMillan walked up to him. "Your honor, I did not engage him! I told him you're not to be [near] me and you know that."

Red signs off: "Ambition was my only crime."

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill