Rapper Brandon Duncan, activist Aaron Harvey file charges vs City of San Diego over Gang Conspiracy Law
Jan 13, 2017 07:23 AM EST
Hip-hop musician Brandon "Tiny Doo" Duncan and activist Aaron Harvey filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego for federal civil rights violations after they were being jailed on promoting gang violence based on their rap lyrics and social media postings.
The lawsuit, filed late Tuesday in San Diego, says Duncan and Harvey were jailed for seven months after their arrests in June 2014 for gang-related charges under a California gang conspiracy law. The judge dismissed charges only two months after they were released.
The state law, passed in 2000, says that an active gang member carrying the knowledge of a gang's criminal activities can be charged for crimes others commit if they willfully benefited from, assisted or promoted the gang in one way or another.
Prosecutors claim that the rap lyrics and social media posts intensively promoted gang violence. It appeared to deposit fear among the rivals of San Diego's Lincoln Park Blood gang and highlighted the legitimacy of the gang during a shooting in 2013.
According to the lawsuit, Duncan and Harvey have alleged that constitutional rights to the freedom of speech were violated by the police officers, accompanying unreasonable search and seizure. The complaint names Detectives Rudy Castro and Scott Henderson as defendants for their handling of the investigation.
Mark Zebrowski, an attorney for the two men, said, "Constitutionally protected speech and association and other expressive conduct are not illegal."
Duncan has been suffering from sleeping difficulties since the incident, becomes uncomfortable in crowds, and still owes money to his criminal defense attorney.
"Seven months of his life were taken and converted into incarceration with a potential life sentence for doing nothing illegal," the lawsuit said.