A San Diego rapper and another man whose gang conspiracy charges were dismissed last week joined supporters outside a race relations town hall meeting Sunday to demand changes to the law that left them temporarily facing lengthy prison sentences.
Aaron Harvey, 26, and 33-year-old Brandon Duncan, who raps under the moniker “Tiny Doo,” were accused under a law that allows for the prosecution of gang members if they benefit from or promote crimes committed by fellow gangsters. The charges stemmed from nine shootings in San Diego between May 2013 and February 2014.
Prosecutors alleged Duncan rapped about gang violence, which benefited a gang. But Judge Louis Hanoian on Monday threw out the charges against Duncan and Harvey, ruling they could not face a conspiracy charge without a specific crime attached to it.
However, several other co-defendants were ordered to stand trial in the case.
“This fight was never just about me and Brandon,” Harvey said. “This is about a penal code that is so unjust, that if we are convicted, it will be used as a model throughout the state to annihilate and eliminate whole communities.”
Harvey, Duncan and their supporters gathered outside the Malcolm X Library at 3 p.m., where a race relations discussion panel was set to feature San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Dumanis, however, canceled her appearance at the last minute.
— Michael Dean Gold (@10newsGold) March 22, 2015
Dumanis said in December that case was not about punishing someone for rapping, but rather “protecting our neighborhoods by taking violent gang members off the streets and holding them accountable for the crimes they commit using a law that the voters passed and the court recognized as constitutional.”
Harvey accused Dumanis of now using the obscure 15-year-old gang conspiracy law to pursue charges against 33 men stemming from a series of 16 shootings — rather than finding those that committed the crimes.
A dozen of those defendants, alleged members of a Southcrest-area gang, have already pleaded guilty to charges including attempted murder, robbery and possession of firearms, U-T San Diego reported.
“It does not matter that we are free. There are still 18 other young black men sitting in county jail under the same application of Penal Code 182.5. We will not back down until this law is off the books.”
—City News Service
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