·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

San Diego Men Claim Authorities Violated Their Amendment Rights

— January 17, 2017

The two San Diego men arrested for explicit rap lyrics and social media posts are filing suit against police claiming violation of amendment rights.

The two San Diego men arrested in 2014 for explicit rap lyrics and social media posts are now filing suit against police, alleging they were violated of their First and Fourth Amendment rights. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to freedom of speech, and the fourth amendment protects against unwarranted searches and seizures. The men have filed the lawsuit in response to wrongful arrests made three years ago.

One of the men who was detained is rapper Brandon Duncan, better known as Tiny Doo. Tiny Doo released a controversial album in 2014 entitled “No Safety” that immediately raised eyebrows. Authorities linked its lyrics to nine shootings by the Lincoln Park gang that took place in San Diego between 2013 and 2014, and following its release, Duncan, along with at least a dozen other African American men, were charged with criminal conspiracy under Penal Code 182.5, now being termed the “Lynch Code”. The code, which is rarely used in the justice system, contends that active gang members with knowledge of gang related activity can be prosecuted if they publicly promote and make a profit from this knowledge. Police claimed Tiny Doo was profiting from the referenced gang activity in his music, and the others were also publicly promoting the crimes. One of the men arrested was aspiring real estate agent Aaron Harvey, 28 at the time of his arrest. The co-defendants spent nearly seven months in jail, slapped with the possibility of serving life sentences.

Image Courtesy of Rolling Out
Image Courtesy of Rolling Out

Tiny Doo was a well known rapper in the community for nearly 20 years prior to his arrest, and was actually known by followers for using his music to create a voice against criminality. Tiny Doo and Aaron Harvey’s case received national media attention, and a judge ultimately dismissed the crimes in 2015, indicating there was not enough evidence to pursue charges.

Tiny Doo felt his arrest had larger societal implications, and threatened the livelihood of other rap artists hoping to express themselves through their lyrics. He claims he never meant to promote crime, but that his music is nothing more than a medium to provide imagery of what life is like in an urban community. The case has caused him to pause and reflect on what he will include in future songs, however.

Aaron Harvey has also started speaking out following his release, claiming he is no more than a product of a broken justice system designed to take innocent men off the streets. He has made multiple appearances at community colleges, and is speaking publicly to local radio stations and at press conferences.

Image Courtesy of Voice of San Diego
Image Courtesy of Voice of San Diego

The lawsuit is being delivered to city of San Diego officials, and also names police detectives Scott Henderson and Rudy Castro, who Tiny Doo claims inappropriately handled the case. The rapper insists he has suffered from classic Post-Traumatic Stress related ailments related to litigation, including difficulty sleeping and a fear of crowded spaces. He still owes money to his criminal defense attorney who represented him in the conspiracy case.


Rapper sues city of San Diego over gang conspiracy law

Aaron Harvey Questioned Gang Policing and Prosecutions

Join the conversation!