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@chicago sun times
Rising rap star Chief Keef belongs behind bars for his own safety, Cook County prosecutors said in juvenile court Wednesday. The Chicago singer, whose real name is Keith Cozart, faces possible retribution for the fatal shooting last month of up-and-coming rapper Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman, Cook County prosecutors said. Chief Keef isn’t implicated in the Sept. 4 slaying of JoJo, 18, but police are investigating whether the killing was linked to a war of words between the two.
On Wednesday, prosecutors asked Judge Carl Anthony Walker to put Chief Keef in juvenile detention for two alleged violations of probation he received in an unrelated gun case. The judge said he won’t lock up Chief Keef, 17, before he holds a hearing Nov. 20 but he added: “I really believe this minor should be placed on electronic home monitoring.”Chicago Police officials said they wanted Chief Keef placed in juvenile detention to protect himself and others — and to send a message that everyone, including celebrities, must follow the law.
“Anytime he is in Chicago, he is a potential target and anyone around him is in jeopardy, including innocent kids,” said Nicholas Roti, chief of the Chicago Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau.
“This is an example of people who are associated with violence in Chicago who aren’t held accountable for their actions,” Roti said. Chief Keef planned to return to California on Wednesday, said his attorney, Dennis Berkson. He has been living on the West Coast since JoJo was killed. Chief Keef, who’s on the same record label as rap superstar 50 Cent, is working in the studio and touring, Berkson said.
Last month, the judge approved Chief Keef’s move to Los Angeles in an effort to protect him from violence here. Berkson emphasized that his client is safe in California and doesn’t deserve to be locked up in Chicago.“He has been a model young man,” said Berkson, adding that Chief Keef had nothing to do with JoJo’s “unfortunate demise.” As he left court Wednesday, Chief Keef raised his hands in a show of victory. Earlier, he had predicted he would be released, saying to a reporter, “It’s a piece of cake.” Late Wednesday, defiant messages were posted on Chief Keef’s Twitter account. “Prosecutors want me back in jail?! I aint going!!!! ... IM out here tryin to get this money & they wanna stop me from shining!!!”
During a break in the hearing, Chief Keef lingered in a courthouse hallway, singing snippets of his raps. One young girl, awaiting her own court hearing nearby, heard him singing, then posed with Chief Keef and her mother for a quick iPhone photo.At one point Wednesday, he was chided by his probation officer for signing court papers “Chief Keef” instead of his real name. He wore baggy fatigues, a white T-shirt, an oversize gold watch, new Michael Jordan gym shoes and a blue down vest to his hearing. As he waited for his case, one woman scolded him, saying, “Young man in the blue jacket, pull your pants up!”
He is serving 18 months of probation for pointing a gun at a Chicago cop. He was also found delinquent on two other felonies.Prosecutors argued he violated the probation by holding a rifle in an online Pitchfork video.Prosecutors pointed to the recorded promotional interview the rapper did in June at a gun range in New York, where he can be seen with a rifle. That’s a violation, prosecutors said, because his probation bans him from having any guns or illegal drugs or associating with gang members. Chief Keef also didn’t get his GED by the August deadline set in his probation — another violation, prosecutors said.Chief Keef’s attorney, Berkson, acknowledged the gun range video was “stupid” but argued it was not his client’s fault because he was simply listening to advice from adults.
Berkson also apologized for the delay on the GED. He said the rapper was working on it and had switched tutors because he was living in California recently while he was recording songs for Interscope Records.
Prosecutors cited other aggravating factors for the judge to consider. Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Jullian Brevard noted that on Sept. 30, Chicago Police officers responded to a call of a gang disturbance in the 6300 block of South King Drive and found the rapper there associating with Black Disciple gang members.
“I don’t know how he knows who is in a gang . . . and who is in the Boy Scouts,” Berkson responded.
The rapper failed to provide a current phone number to his probation officer and was out of touch for about two weeks, authorities added. “He is still blowing off this court. He is still doing what he wants to do,” Brevard said, noting that his “whole image is that he is a tough guy.”“Everybody should be treated the same,” Brevard told the judge. The concern for Chief Keef’s safety stems from a rap that JoJo posted, disrespecting the Black Disciples street gang. JoJo was a reputed member of the Gangster Disciples and Chief Keef has shown an allegiance to the Black Disciples in his Twitter messages and music. Members of Chief Keef’s entourage were feuding online with JoJo for months before his slaying. Hours after JoJo was killed in a drive-by shooting in Englewood, Chief Keef’s Twitter account carried a message that included the hashtag #LMAO, mocking his death. The acronym stands for “laughing my ass off.”
Later, Twitter messages from the same account denied that Chief Keef sent the message, saying his account was hacked. Another said: “My prayers go out 2 Jojo’s family on their loss.” While police have not tied Chief Keef to JoJo’s murder, they say it prompted JoJo’s faction of Gangster Disciples in Englewood to lash out at the Black Disciples on another side of the neighborhood. Detectives think at least one other killing may have resulted from the feud since JoJo was killed, sources said.
@FRANK MAIN AND JON SEIDEL
There probably ought to be a rule against a guy like me writing about somebody like teen rapper Chief Keef, the gulf between our worlds so vast that there’s no way I can relate to his life experiences let alone his music. Yet Keith Cozart, as the Englewood product is known in real life, has crossed over, so to speak, by finding his way into the criminal justice system, which makes him everybody’s business.
The question before us is then whether the taxpayers of Cook County would be better served by allowing the 17-year-old Chief Keef to go on about his business of becoming The Next Big Thing in the thug music world or instead by sending him back to juvenile jail to teach him a lesson about respecting the law.
My first choice: Send Chief Keef to California with his handlers from Interscope Records under the agreement that he never come back.
Unfortunately, they tell me the law really doesn’t allow for that as an option.Second choice: Haul Jimmy Iovine, owner of Interscope, into court to explain just how far he will go to exploit not only the talents of this young man but also the culture of violence he represents.
Monday, October 15, 2012
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday proposed tightening the rules that determine whether city residents can have disabled parking zones set up on streets in front of their homes.
The changes, which must be approved by the City Council, would only allow such zones near homes where a disabled person lives and a vehicle that transports them is parked. The rules would make it clear such zones aren't allowed for paratransit vehicles or relatives, said Laurie Dittman, senior policy analyst for the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities.
The proposed ordinance also would make clear that if a disabled person has another available, accessible space, the city won't put up disabled-only parking signs on the street for that person, she said. In addition, the city would allow a maximum of 1 in 5 parking spaces on any given block to be designated for disabled parking.
There would be a couple of ways to get a decision reversed. One is to appeal to City Hall. The other is to take the issue to a City Council member.
Under the tradition of aldermanic privilege, a City Council member can ask colleagues to override the recommendation of City Hall officials. And nearly always, the alderman wins out.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Chicago’s hip-hop community is in a war of words that has escalated into violence, with the shooting death of a teenage rapper.
Tuesday was another night, another homicide in a year in which hundreds of Chicagoans have been gunned down; the murder rate for the year’s first half is up an alarming 38 percent over last year. This time the victim was Joseph Coleman (18-year-old rapper Lil Jojo). The bicycle-riding teen was slain by a drive-by shooter in his South Side Englewood neighborhood.
His death starkly punctuated a gang-related war of words and music between Jojo and rapper Lil Reese, associated with the biggest new star in Chicago hip-hop, Chief Keef. Jojo recently released a song on-line, “3hunna K” that mocked Reese, Keef and their “300 squad,” which is associated with a street gang.
Keef took to his Twitter account Wednesday to respond to Jojo’s death: “It’s sad cus … Jojo wanted to be just like us #LMAO” (Internet slang for “laughing my ass off"). Chicago police are reportedly investigating a possible connection between the comments and Jojo’s death.
On Wednesday, Keef went after another Chicago hip-hop artist, Lupe Fiasco, on Twitter. He called Fiasco a “hoe” among other epithets and vowed that when “I see him (I’ll) smack him.”
He was responding in part to comments Fiasco made at a Baltimore radio station several days earlier. “Chief Keef scares me,” Fiasco had said. “Not him specifically, but just the culture that he represents.” He decried the rising murder rate in his hometown and said, “You see who’s doing it and perpetrating it, they all look like Chief Keef.”
Fiasco, who has built a global reputation for crafting thoughtful, socially conscious music, responded passionately to Keef on his Twitter account, but with a tinge of sadness.
“I have spoken peace only (to) receive vitriol and malice in return,” Fiasco wrote, and lamented the “paths to nothingness” that such attitudes entail.
Keef, born Keith Cozart 17 years ago, was recently under house arrest for a gun charge. During that time he was signed to a record deal by Interscope Records, the home of Dr. Dre and Eminem, and a few weeks ago he appeared at the Lollapalooza festival in Grant Park. His raps at the festival – often harsh, street-life vignettes about growing up on the economically ravaged, gang-infested South Side -- were punctuated by the sound of gun shots, an eerie reminder of life only blocks away from the stage on which he was performing.
Street buzz, his criminal record and the Internet hit “I Don’t Like” have conspired to make Keef the most notable new face of Chicago hip-hop.
Other prominent Chicago hip-hop artists jumped in with their own Twitter comments Wednesday in the wake of the Keef-Fiasco debate.
Psalm One, who has been recording acclaimed hip-hop albums for more than a decade, pointedly called out Keef: “We hear you loud and clear,” but “a lot of folks just can’t rock with you on it.” And later, she questioned success built on “talking about nothing but drugs/guns.”
After several hours of mostly negative fallout from his more than 200,000 Twitter followers, Keef claimed his account had been hacked.
The animated Twitter discussion dissipated by late Wednesday, but not until another respected Chicago hip-hop artist chimed in. Rhymefest, who ran unsuccessfully for alderman in the crime-riddled 20th Ward earlier this year, added this postcript: “I warned you all about this Chicago violence in Hip Hop and I was called a Hater. Now someone else is dead.”