Photo Credit: Natrice Miller
Fulton County D.A. Pushes Back On Criticism of Rap Lyrics Being Used In Cases
“I think if you decide to admit your crimes over a beat, I’m gonna use it." During a recent press conference, Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis addressed her use of rap lyrics in criminal cases.
Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis isn't done using rap lyrics in artist-centered criminal cases. Nearly three months after Young Thug, Gunna and other members of YSL were arrested on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations charges, on Monday (August 29), Willis spoke on criticism she's received.
During the press conference, Willis announced that RICO charges brought against the "Drug Rich Gang," with a 220-count indictment against 26 defendants alleged to have caused a string of home invasions and robberies.
"If you thought Fulton was a good county to bring your crime to, to bring your violence to, you are wrong and you are going to suffer consequences," Willis said, according to 11 Alive. "And today is the start of some of those consequences."
A reporter referenced Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson who introduced the RAP Act to United States Congress to ban use of lyrics in court proceedings. While Willis said she would “welcome an opportunity" to speak with Johnson, she doubts that the legislation "will be successful."
“I think if you decide to admit your crimes over a beat, I’m gonna use it," Willis said.
When asked if she was “targeting Atlanta’s hip-hop community” with including rap lyrics in prosecution, she continued.
“I’m not targeting anyone but, however, you do not get to commit crimes in my county and then decide to brag on it, which you do that for a form of intimidation and to further the gang and not be held responsible I’m gonna continue to do that,” Willis said. “People can continue to be angry about it. I have some legal advice, don’t confess to crimes on rap lyrics if you do not want them used. Or at least get out of my county.”
Prosecutors claim that Drug Rich Gang began in 2016 outside of DeKalb County before reaching Fulton County. The organization is alleged to have 16 victims, including celebrities like Mariah Carey and Calvin Ridley. Along with the RAP Act, music executives Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald created the Protect Black Art petition, which has received tens of thousands of signatures and public support from Young Thug and Gunna.