The mother of rapper Kodak Black and a group of lawyers called a news conference on Wednesday (Jan. 22) to discuss what they claim is his mistreatment in a federal prison in Miami. But they discovered that just an hour earlier, the rapper had been put on a prison bus to federal facility in Kentucky, a thousand miles away.
Attorneys Benjamin Crump, Devon Jacob and Sue-Ann Robinson said they haven’t been able to see the rapper in weeks. Jacobs said he had emailed and called the Bureau of Prisons to tell them they were coming to the detention center.
“They knew we were coming out here, they knew we were doing this today,” Jacob said. “Their refusal to let him see his counsel is, in and of itself, a constitutional violation.” The 22-year-old rapper, whose real name is Bill Kapri, was sentenced in November to more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to weapons charges. He was arrested just before a scheduled concert performance in May.
The rapper admitted in August that he falsified information on federal forms to buy four firearms from a Miami-area gun shop on two separate occasions. He also faces drug, weapons and sexual assault charges in other states, and has had several previous arrests.
In a mid-December posting on Black’s Instagram account, he went public with allegations that he had been abused at the Federal Detention Center. The Miami Herald reported that his mother, Marcelene Simmons, said that when she tried to see him before Christmas, she was falsely accused by prison officials of having contraband.
“They don’t want my son happy,” Simmons said. “That’s why they won’t let me see him.”
Black’s Instagram post offers his side of what happened before, during and after guards intervened in a fight between him and another inmate in October. Black claimed he was “laced with an unknown substance.” After an out-of-body experience and feeling like being possessed, he said, he went to the corrections officers’ office for help, but was denied medical attention. Shortly after, he got into a fight with an inmate.
The Herald reported that the Federal Bureau of Prisons and employees at the detention center declined to comment, but an assistant U.S. attorney and an FBI agent told the newspaper that Black fought with a corrections officer, got pepper-sprayed, and squeezed the guard’s testicles to the point where his abdomen and intestinal wall were breached.
The attorneys say any civil rights lawsuit remains on hold until they can see their client. His mother wailed during the news conference. “I want to make sure my son is OK!,” she said. “I don’t want my son to die. If they kill my son, I’ll kill myself, too. Please someone help me.”