Trial proceedings got underway Tuesday for rapper 40 Glocc, who is fighting a gang injunction that intends to keep him out of a Colton apartment complex known as The Zoo.
Prosecutors allege that 40 Glocc, whose real name is Lawrence White, uses his fame, notoriety and money to foster an image of Arbor Terrace Apartments that creates a nuisance there and a notion that the complex is gang turf for the Colton City Crips.
Deputy District Attorney Mark Vos alleges that White is a member of the gang and belongs under the gang injunction imposed in September 2008 for the Arbor Terrace Apartments.
The 127-unit complex on North Rancho Avenue is where gang members were armed, openly sold and used drugs, gambled publicly, vandalized property and intimidated residents, say police and prosecutors.
"The evidence will show that he was assisting that nuisance," Vos said of White, during his opening remarks in the judge-only trial in San Bernardino Superior Court.
In November 2008, Alvarez ruled that the rapper who had denied being part of the Colton City Crips actually belongs to the gang and was covered by the injunction, which banned about 60 gang members from the complex.
At that time, the judge also ordered Vos and White's attorneys to rework the injunction to ensure that 40 Glocc can continue to rap.
But a sticking point remains: Prosecutors don't want White to ever return to Arbor Terrace Apartments. The
defense counters that The Zoo is White's childhood home, and he should be able to return there to write music and produce videos about Zoo life.
Janet Atcosta, the apartment manager at Arbor Terrace for the last nine years, testifed Tuesday that the gang's members would take over tenants' apartments and conduct their activities.
"When I first got there, it was really bad with gang members," Atcosta said. She met 40 Glocc after a month, and she asked him to leave because he was not on a lease.
Whenever 40 Glocc is at Arbor Terrace, street traffic and drug sales increase, Atcosta said.
The defense told Alvarez during its opening remarks that prosecutors aim to silence their client with the injunction. Vos later said he is not trying to silence the rapper, adding that White is free to exercise all his legal rights a block away from the injunction zone.
White is a full-time professional entertainer and is signed to 50 Cent's G-Unit recording label, said lawyer Thomas Brackey.
"He's worked with many of the top hip-hop artists in the world and still does," Brackey said.
The persona of 40 Glocc is obnoxious, reprehensible and thumbs his nose at authority, but the defense says his speech is protected by the First Amendment. While prosecutors say White's purpose is to further the cause of the Colton City Crips, the defense disagrees.
"We believe the evidence is going to show the furtherance of Lawrence White's own career," said Brackey.
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