The Hip Hop police are officially real. A judge in Brooklyn recently ruled that the rap videos a street gang called the Together Forever Mafia posted on YouTube can be used as evidence against them in their upcoming trials. The gang is currently facing racketeering charges related to drug and sex trafficking among other things, and Judge Kiyo Matsumoto seems to think that the YouTube videos of TF members posing with guns and drugs and talking about their illegal activities may be relevant to the case.
In his decision, Matsumoto says:
The court finds that excerpts of videos depicting the defendants with firearms, cash and drugs are highly probative to the weapons-related charges, narcotics trafficking and money-laundering charges.She goes on to state that:
The defendants may offer evidence at trial . . . that the weapons, cash and drugs depicted are ‘props,’ but it is up to the jury to weigh this evidence and decide what is depicted.The two Together Forever Mafia leaders that are on trail are Michael Garrett and Paul Rivera, who allegedly operated the empire from a tattoo parlor in the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn. Obviously, their lawyers aren't too happy about the ruling, basically saying what any halfway decent attorney would say and calling them fictionalized and just another part of rap music.
Whether their lawyers are right or not, posting videos of yourselves doing illegal things online where people can easily find them is probably not the best way to use the Internet. What do you think?
A) They're dumb for posting the videos
B) The feds should be able to use the videos as evidence
C) You gon be fresh as hell if the feds watching