The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Mom Loses CHA Apartment After Son Films Gun-Toting Rap Video Inside

By Chloe Riley | December 17, 2013 6:38am
 A woman has lost her CHA apartment in part because her son filmed a rap video featuring gun-toting gang members in her unit on the Near West Side.
Roosevelt Square
View Full Caption

NEAR WEST SIDE — A woman has lost her CHA apartment in part because her son filmed a rap video featuring gun-toting gang members in her unit on the Near West Side.

The son, Nokomis Jefferson, who raps under the name "Shoota Mac," appeared with about 18 other men, some of whom point guns at the camera and each other in the video that officials say was filmed in his mother's unit at Roosevelt Square, a mixed-income Chicago Housing Authority development.

"All I know is shoot, n-----. They call me Shoota Mac. You better watch your back," Jefferson, 21, raps while in the kitchen, another room and on the grounds of the subsidized apartment leased to his mother, Bridgette Leachman, 47, in the 1200 block of West Washburne Street.

The video was posted on YouTube in July of last year, court documents show. Jefferson has also posted several other videos on YouTube, including one called "Strapped Up" and "Man Down," where he raps outside Roosevelt Square and the Robert Brooks homes, another public housing complex nearby. The video that got his mother in trouble with the CHA appears to be the only one where weapons can be seen and is no longer online.

After the video was posted, Rola Osman, a Roosevelt Square property manager, said she viewed it, recognized Jefferson and believed it was filmed in the complex, she said in eviction proceedings. Osman, who works for the Related Management Company, which runs the complex on behalf of CHA, said she then went to Leachman's second-floor unit in August to do an inspection and "at that time I recognized that the 'All I Know Is Shoot' video was shot in the premises."

Later in August 2012, Jefferson and two other men described as "members of the New Breed street gang" were seen loitering in a parking lot behind a CHA building in the 1200 block of South Throop,  a known hot spot, according to a police report of the incident.

When two officers approached to do a so-called "field interview," Jefferson and the other men allegedly dropped what police later identified as a loaded .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a chrome Taurus .357 magnum and a blue sock containing what police suspected was marijuana.

All three were arrested on gun charges; the cases are pending. Jefferson, who allegedly told police he lived in his mother's apartment, is now out on bond.

The guns allegedly recovered appeared in the video, prosecutors said in a criminal hearing about Jefferson's case.

Osman said she learned of Jefferson's arrest in late August and sent a Notice of Termination of Tenancy to Leachman in October "relating to these two instances."

Under CHA policy, officials can terminate a lease if a resident engages in "any activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises" of other residents, CHA employees or property managers, or even "persons residing in the immediate vicinity."

Any activity resulting in a felony conviction is also grounds for termination.

What's more, residents are responsible for behavior by relatives or guests: "The CHA is not required to prove that the resident knew or should have known that a family member, household member, guest, or other person under the resident's control was engaged in the action that violated the lease," the policy states.

Osman said Leachman, whose monthly rent is $502, came to see her to discuss the situation but "did not deny any of the two reasons given for the Notice of Termination."

In October of that year, Related Management formally filed a motion in Cook Count Civil Court to evict Leachman, alleging she had breached the lease agreement.

In later court filings, Related Management stated that Leachman was being evicted because Jefferson was an "unauthorized resident and/or guest" of hers. It list as reasons his gun arrest and that he "possessed and displayed firearms in defendant's unit and on the project grounds which was posted in a 7/12/12 video."

In court filings, Leachman denied her son was living with her or was a guest of hers either when the video was filmed or when he was arrested. But her attempt to have the case dismissed was denied in October of this year.

Later that month, Leachman agreed to voluntarily leave the unit by mid-January, according to a court order. The order stated that Jefferson was "barred from her unit"; if he is seen in the unit or with Leachman she will have to leave the complex even sooner. 

The order states that if Leachman complies with the court's ruling, the eviction case will be dismissed.

Neither Leachman nor her son could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Michelle Gilbert, said she was not authorized to speak about the case but emphasized Leachman is voluntarily leaving and no longer being evicted.

A spokeswoman for Related Management, Tricia Van Horn, said in an email to DNAinfo Chicago that CHA took action "as soon as we were made aware of the video."

“The safety and security of our residents is a priority for the management team at Roosevelt Square and we work in close partnership with the Chicago Police Department and the CHA on all of our efforts," Van Horn said. "We are aware of the incidents, have taken the most expeditious action available to us and Ms. Leachman and Mr. Jefferson will be vacating their apartment in the next few weeks.”

Many see the video and violent culture it represents as evidence of problems that won't go away in public housing on the Near West Side, despite the CHA's Plan for Transformation.

But Roosevelt Square resident Shantell Smith, 22, isn't too worried about it.

“I guess they shoot a lot, but that’s it. That’s what it is. People make videos like that every day. Doesn’t concern me,” said Smith.

Contributing: Erin Meyer