Following the arrests of 22 men and a 17-year-old on May 24 for allegedly committing six shootings and “wildly” shooting at rival gang members during a Bronx turf war, Bronx District Attorney, Darcel Clark, is calling on local rappers to stop using their music to encourage the violence and instead to use it to better the community.
Clark said, “I am calling on rappers from the Bronx to stop using music to encourage shootings and use it to better the community. I am asking to have a summit with aspiring rappers and the rap stars who come from the Bronx, record companies, radio stations and social media so we can find solutions to prevent further violence,” the NY Post reported.
According to the DA’s office, the 22 men and one minor, who are alleged members of the River Park Towers gang, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder as well as other weapons charges for multiple acts of gun violence in the Bronx.
In addition, the group has been charged with a gang assault on Rikers.
Clark said the group “allegedly fired wildly on the streets without regard for the lives of anyone else.”
One incident, on August 17, 2020 involved a brazen shooting which saw nearly a dozen bullets shot into a building vestibule, just missing their target’s head.
According to Clark, the alleged gang members boasted about the violence in drill rap videos that were posted online and even went as far as to pose in pictures on social media with one of the guns used in a shooting.
Omar Gaines, 19, rapped in a video boasting about a gang shooting that occurred on Nov. 28, 2020, rapping, “Hop out the V and I’m shooting [expletive] up. Smoking on Noah. I don’t give a [expletive]… Throw shots at a Crippy. Glock in the party, in case [expletive] get litty.”
Gaines and another defendant, Sheriff Jarou, are suspected to be responsible for another shooting after they allegedly opened fire on a group of rival gang members on their claimed territory outside 1435 University Ave.
The group is known to attempt to recruit online by posting “shocking acts.” Members of the gang were charged by the DA’s office with animal cruelty after vowing to kill a pigeon on Facebook Live for 100 likes.
Commenting on the matter, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, “These long-term, Gun Violence Suppression Division investigations are carefully constructed, precisely focused tools that have a huge impact on eradicating gun violence and improving life for all New Yorkers.”
The comments come as Mayor Eric Adams pleaded for more pro-police messaging that is challenging the local “Defund the police” proponents.
Adams is championing a public relations campaign to encourage New Yorkers, and the nation at large, to support police amidst soaring gun violence that is impacting both the city and the nation.
“Everyone silently tells us to support the police. We cannot do this with a whisper. This community knows how important law enforcement is,” Adams said, as reported by the NY Post.
“It is time for us to go on a major public relations campaign and tell the entire city and country we support our police,” Adams said.
Adams hopes the pro-police sentiment will resonate across the country following the horrific elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas and recent gun violence that has plagued the city’s subway system and streets.
Adams said that he and Police Commissioner Sewell feel as though they are “the only ones backing our police department.”