ATLANTA – Rayshawn Bennett, better known as musical performer YFN Lucci, is among a dozen suspects indicted in a 75-page indictment and 105 racketeering charges targeting factions within the gang of rue des Bloods.
“This indictment is unprecedented. Period, ”said Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis. Mark Winne, Channel 2 investigative reporter in an exclusive interview.
“There has been a huge spike in violent crime,” Willis said. “I am committed to bringing here the best and the brightest minds, many of whom are sitting here right now so that we can deal with this issue of this violent crime.”
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Joining Willis when she met Winne were key members of her staff, including recent hiring Mike Carlson, one of the state’s most renowned gang law experts, RICO expert John Floyd and the prosecutor. gang unit chief Cara Convery, as well as senior law enforcement officials.
“The first thing we had to do was recognize that there was an absolute gang problem in this county and that we were going to take a strong stand against it,” said Willis.
Willis said she and her team used a YouTube video clip titled “Shine On” to shed light on the alleged gang associations of the two artists, YFN Lucci and Bloody Jay, both named in the indictment. . The indictment says the video includes lyrics promoting the activities of criminal gangs.
Convery says investigators also used social media posts to help build their gang case.
“It’s a way to show who you are and who you relate to and what you’re willing to do to maintain that position of power,” she said.
Lucci’s attorney, Drew Findling, told Winne his client was not guilty on all counts.
“He’s not a gang member. What he is is an internationally renowned, three-time platinum-winner musical artist who has performed across the United States and around the world, ”said Findling. “His first amendment right to express himself musically is no different from the famous rock song ‘I Shot the Sheriff’. It is not criminal activity.
Bloody Jay, real name Justin Ushery, told Winne over the phone that he was not involved in a gang or committing crimes, saying, “I make music.”
The indictment suggests that Lucci is an associate of the Bloods and the allegations against him include falsifying homicide evidence by hiding a crime scene and a vehicle by hiding them, assaulting someone by strangulation and by encouraging hitting and kicking that person for playing their rival. gang music.
Lucci is already facing a murder charge in connection with the shooting death of a man in December.
Willis says the murder allegations against Lucci and a few others in the RICO case involve the homicide for which Lucci has already been released on bail.
“We think it’s part of a bigger picture,” Willis said.
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Atlanta Police Captain Jason Smith said the investigation took more than six months and involved the prosecutor’s office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Atlanta Police Department and the Office of the Fulton County Sheriff.
“I think this sends an important message, a deep message, whatever your status, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County in partnership will sue you if you violate the crimes committed in our county, in our city,” he said. said the Atlanta police chief. Rodney Bryant.
“Among the national gangs, the criminal street gangs the bloods, there are at least four subgroups involved in this indictment and this investigation,” GBI Gang Task Force Special Agent Ken Howard said.
“Some people don’t understand the depth that gangs have infiltrated, for lack of a better word, our communities and it’s time for them to leave,” said Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat.
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