A rapper in San Diego, California known as Tiny Doo is facing attempted murder charges for the lyrics in his album, and he could get life in prison. Earlier this week, the ACLU said it’s filing a court brief asking for his charges to be dismissed.
The rapper, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, had lyrics about gang violence, but never took part in any killings, prosecutors said. They, however, claimed that he broke anti-gang laws in the state, which makes it illegal for people to profit in any way from gang activity.
Duncan could get 25 years to life. According to CNN, Duncan and other 14 alleged gang members were able to bolster their reputations following a series of shootings in 2013.
The prosecution says that Duncan never was at the scene of any crime. They also admitted that they have no evidence that links him to the shootings. He also doesn’t have a criminal record.
But they point his album, “No Safety,” which has lyrics such as “Ain’t no safety on this pistol I’m holding,” citing it and other lines as examples of a “direct correlation to what the gang has been doing.”
According to the ACLU, the development is troubling.
“The state can’t criminalize protected speech, and it can’t criminalize Mr. Duncan’s music. Thankfully, Mr. Duncan is now free on bail, but he still faces “gang conspiracy” charges, which threaten a potential life sentence,” the organization said on Feb. 3. “The ACLU has filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the charges immediately.”
It added: “In criminal cases, however, the process itself is often the punishment, even without a conviction. Mr. Duncan spent eight months in jail when he never should have been arrested in the first place. The court should stop this case in its tracks and send a clear message that prosecution for protected speech cannot be tolerated.”
Duncan said that the charges against him are absurd and violate his constitutional rights. “The studio is my canvas. I’m just painting a picture,” he said. “I’m not telling anybody to go out and kill somebody.”
“I would love to continue to rap,” he added. “But these people have you scared to do anything around here.”
He added that “I feel like they’re trying to eradicate black men”–not gangs.