Under fire, under siege, is the hiphop community being targeted by law enforcement? From the long rumored “hiphop cop”, to RICO cases with rappers song lyrics being used as evidence. One thing we should all agree on is freedom of expression, and there are laws being introduced in a small number of states to stop the use of song lyrics in criminal cases.
In 2020, Brooklyn New York rapper Caswell Senior, stage name Casanova was indicted on RICO charges along with several alleged members of the “Untouchable Gorilla Stone” street gang. Later in May of 2022 Casanova pleaded guilty to federal drug and racketeering charges. The 35 year old Brooklyn rapper is currently incarcerated serving a 5 to 60 year sentence.
May of 2022, Jeffery Williams a.k.a. Young Thug of Atlanta, Georgia was indicted on conspiracy RICO charges and arrested at his home. Williams’ label mate and close friend Sergio Kitchens, also known as Gunna, Martinez Arnold, also known as Duke, and Deamonte Kendrick, also known as Yak Gotti, are included in the initial indictment with 56 counts against 28 people allegedly involved with the YSL “Young Slime Life” street gang.
With rumors of other rappers being targeted for future RICO cases, will this be just the start of an alarming new trend? Will we continue to see rappers’ lyrics used to prosecute and convict the artists of alleged criminal activities?
In this new digital era, its easier than ever for law enforcement to use the internet and social media to build cases on individuals or groups. What you say, what you post, and who you keep around you, can and will be used against you in the court of law.
YOUNG THUG IN COURT: A Fulton County judge allowed Young Thug's attorney to continue to represent the Atlanta rapper on his racketeering charges despite "concerns about a potential conflict" of interest. https://t.co/nm4dngzHZo
— FOX 5 Atlanta (@FOX5Atlanta) June 2, 2022