Prosecutors said Monday that bodyguards for troubled rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine
turned New York City
into the Wild West last summer, piling into SUVs and chasing a man for 20 blocks with lights flashing after he tried to record cellphone video
of the recording star.
Five members of 6ix9ine's security
team, including a retired New York City police
detective accused of lying and attempting to cover up the incident, were indicted on robbery, false impersonation, and other charges stemming from the pursuit in Harlem
, aka Tekashi 6ix9ine, was not charged.
In a written statement
announcing the indictments, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.
stated, “A celebrity
entourage is not a police department, and Manhattan is not the Wild West.”
“As claimed, these highly compensated vigilantes caravaned through the streets of Harlem with sirens flashing in order to track down a man and steal and break his phone,” Vance said.
Daniel Laperuta, a former NYPD
detective, falsely told police officers and a 911 dispatcher that the man being chased had threatened 6ix9ine's team with a gun, according to Vance.
When 6ix9ine's bodyguards finally confronted the man, boxing
him in with their SUVs near the Apollo Theater
, they stomped on his cell phone, according to Vance.
As the man struggled with one of the bodyguards for the phone, Laperuta approached with his hand on his holstered gun, and another bodyguard pointed a stun gun at him, according to Vance.
Vance described the security team fleeing in the SUVs as an unmarked police car approached with its lights flashing.
Laperuta pleaded not guilty Monday and was expected to post bail that afternoon, while other members of the security team were expected to be arraigned later that day.
Todd Cushner, Laperuta's attorney, stated that he was reviewing the charges against the former cop.
“They are, for the most part, unfounded,” Cushner said.
Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers who have previously represented Tekashi 6ix9ine.
6ix9ine, a Brooklyn
native, rose to prominence as a hip-hop artist after becoming a social media
phenomenon with millions of Instagram
followers, having a multiplatinum hit song, “Fefe,” with Nicki Minaj
, which peaked at No. 3 on the pop charts in 2018, and “Stoopid,” featuring incarcerated rapper Bobby Shmurda.
He's been in and out of jail
and court since then.
With a mandatory minimum of 37 years in prison
on gang-related charges, including allegedly orchestrating a shooting
that injured an innocent bystander, 6ix9ine began cooperating with federal prosecutors
and testifying against members of the gang, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods.
He also testified that two men kidnapped him in July 2018, forcing him into a stolen car at gunpoint and occasionally beating and taunting him before taking him to his Brooklyn home
and stealing a bag full of jewelry.
6ix9ine's cooperation earned him leniency from prosecutors but scorn from fellow rappers
, with Snoop Dogg
labeling him a "snitch." In December 2019, 6ix9ine was sentenced to two years in federal prison, but a judge
ordered him released
to home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Tekashi 6ix9ine told jurors in 2019 that his role in the Nine Trey gang was to “just keep making hits and be the financial support... so they could buy guns
and stuff like that.”
When asked what he got in return, 6ix9ine said, "My career. I got the street credibility. The videos, the music
, the protection — everything."
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