Two more Atlanta rappers face judge on gang-related charges

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:44 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Two more Atlanta rappers appeared before a Fulton County judge Wednesday after being indicted and arrested on allegations of gang activity under the YSL gang.

Rapper Yak Gotti, whose real name is Deamonte Kendrick, is charged with participating in a criminal street gang. Rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, is charged with the same.

Kitchens’ attorney Don Samuel talked to CBS46 about his client’s charges, saying he disagreed with his client being depicted as part of Atlanta’s crime problem.

“Just reading the indictment itself, it is so clear that he is entitled to bond,” Samuel told the judge.

Samuel said the indictment against his client largely involves motor vehicle infractions and song lyrics.

“He has no felony convictions of any kin,d and we are here sitting here in jail at this point on a RICO allegation involving two motor vehicle offenses plus lyrics,” Samuel said.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is using the racketeering charges to tackle gangs more broadly in court. She says nearly 80 percent of crime problems in metro Atlanta are rooted in gangs.

“If you’re asking should you expect to see other RICO indictments against other street gang organizations, then the answer is absolutely,” Willis said in a press conference Wednesday. She says she brought down indictments on the YFN gang a month ago and is now going through YSL - which is affiliated with The Bloods street gang.

“It is a significant gang that operates here in Atlanta, Georgia, and not every member became defendants in this indictment, but a significant number did and especially the leaders and that is significant,” Willis said.

These arrests Willis believes will help stamp out some of the violence. But, Attorney Mawuli Davis, who works with at-risk youth through his organization The Black Man Lab, says tackling gangs and crime is bigger than the arrests.

“Our work has to be broader than just making arrests,” Davis said. “We have to have programs that are fully funded that have resources that can go into these communities and address these young people at an early age so that they are not attracted to any criminal activity.”

The Black Man Lab will be holding a canvassing walk at the CT Martin Recreation Center Saturday at 2:30 p.m.