Rapper Lil Durk Ordered Held on $100K for Gun Charge
CHICAGO — Rapper Lil Durk, a convicted felon and part of the Chief Keef crew, remains in jail even though a friend has allegedly claimed responsibility for the gun that got him arrested.
The 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Durk D. Banks, was ordered held on $100,000 bail after his arrest in Englewood Wednesday when authorities said he tried to ditch a stolen 9 mm semi-automatic Glock.
The rapper's attorney, Sam Adam Jr., argued Thursday during Lil Durk's bond hearing that police got the wrong guy. Adam offered proof in the form of sworn statements from witnesses, including one from a friend admitting that the gun belonged to him.
"(The friend) tried to tell the officers at the time, and the officers took the defendant anyway," Adam said with signature zeal, one hand on Lil Durk's shoulder.
Clarence January, 20, threw the gun in a Hyundai Sonata and when he tried to fess up, "Police didn't want to listen to him," according to his signed affidavit. "An officer said, 'Give me a reason to kill your black ass."
Adam said according to nine sworn affidavits from witness, his client didn't have a gun.
Asking the judge to set low bail, Adam said Lil Durk "just signed a deal with major label, (but) the money has not come in yet."
He said the rapper's wife, who stood in the crowded courtroom Thursday alongside members of Lil Durk's family, was scheduled to deliver the couple's second child Friday.
"She is literally about to pop," said Adam, drawing muffled laughter from the gallery and a glare from the judge.
She and the rapper's attorneys say he is getting a bad rap.
A recent Lil Durk video on YouTube "calls out the media and the police for targeting him," said another attorney, Mohammed Ahmed. "Dis Ain't What U Want" has gotten more than 1.6 million views since it was posted on May 5.
"When you've got money and you're a young black man, you're unfairly targeted," Ahmed said.
Lil Durk's wife, Nicole Covone, 23, lingered outside the courtroom after the hearing.
"He's innocent," said Covone, adding that she doesn't want to deliver a baby girl with her father in jail.
Lil Durk is a friend of Interscope Records rapper Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart.
Prosecutors have said that Chief Keef, 17, is a member of a faction of the Black Disciples street gang known as "Lamron" — the word Normal spelled backward. Authorities say it's a gang reference to a stretch of Normal Boulevard in Englewood, Chief Keef's old neighborhood.
A source said police believe Lil Durk was also a Black Disciple.
Lil Durk last summer was the target of a YouTube rap video made by rival Joseph "Lil JoJo" Coleman, an 18-year-old who also referenced the Black Disciples in his rap, saying he was "BDK," slang for a Black Disciples killer, the Sun-Times reported.
The South Side gang beef made national news after Lil JoJo was gunned down as he rode double on a bike in Englewood. His slaying has not been solved.
Chief Keef was criticized for tweeting, in the hours after JoJo's murder, that, "Its Sad Cuz Dat N---- JoJo Wanted to Be Just Like Us #LMAO." The "laughing my a-- off" tagline drew the criticism, although Chief Keef quickly claimed his Twitter account had been hacked.
Chief Keef has had his own troubles with the law. He was released from juvenile jail earlier this year after serving a 60-day sentence for violating his probation on a gun charge. In that case, authorities said he pointed a gun at a police officer, who fired at him and missed.
He also recently was arrested in suburban Atlanta for disorderly conduct after a security guard smelled pot smoke and confronted him.
Just last week, he was clocked doing 110 mph on the Edens Expressway in Northfield and arrested, police said.
"That's a fast car, that's why I bought it," Chief Keef could be heard saying on the officer's dashboard camera microphone.
Just this week, Chief Keef was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of 2013's "New Troublemakers."
Lil Durk's arrest comes a month after rapper Lil Reese, also a pal of Chief Keef and Lil Durk, was arrested on a warrant out of Champaign after cops found him sleeping in his car.
Soon after, the rapper, whose real name is Tavares Taylor, was charged in connection with a YouTube video police said showed him beating a woman in Champaign apartment.
In Lil Durk's 2011 arrest, police spotted him while chasing someone else, according to court records.
Banks darted into a nearby gangway and ditched a loaded nickel-plated semi-automatic handgun beneath a car, according to court records. He ran into a home in the 6400 block of South Eggleston, where police found him sitting on the couch, according to court records.
The gun was recovered, and Banks was charged. He eventually bonded out of jail pending his trial.
He pleaded not guilty but later accepted a plea deal, admitting only to one count of aggravated unauthorized use of a weapon, records show.
He was sentenced to one year in prison in April 2012.