Up-and-coming rapper Bobby Shmurda appeared in a New York City court on Thursday (Dec. 18) to face charges he moonlighted as a gun-toting member of a street gang that was behind several shootings, one fatal, during turf wars over drug trafficking.
Shmurda (real name: Ackquille Pollard) pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $2 million bail at a hearing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
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The Brooklyn-born Pollard is best known for the hit song “Hot Boy.” He also put out a music video that popularized a dance craze called the “Shmoney dance,” and reportedly signed a lucrative record deal.
His attorney, Howard Greenberg, said his client had been falsely accused.
“Does it make sense that he would resort to committing crimes when he has the world in the palm of his hand?” the lawyer said outside court. “It’s ridiculous.”
Police arrested Pollard on conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession on Wednesday after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan. Police found two handguns and a small amount of crack cocaine in a car in which he was riding, authorities said.
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An indictment naming Pollard charges more than 15 defendants with a variety of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and drug dealing. Police seized 21 guns during the investigation, 10 of them while making arrests on Wednesday.
The court papers allege that Pollard fired a gun toward a crowd of people outside a barber shop in Brooklyn earlier this year. They also say he was present last year during a confrontation between rival drug gangs outside a Brooklyn courthouse where shots were fired.
The evidence includes several recorded phone conversations, including some between Pollard and gang members serving time on Rikers Island, the indictment says. The gang used code words, referring to firearms as “tone” and “socks,” narcotics as “crills,” and shootings as “sun tan,” it says.
During a conversation on April 28, Pollard bragged, “I am two socks Bobby right now,” the indictment says.
A “Hot Boy” video posted on YouTube in August has been viewed tens of millions of times, and Pollard performed the song for a national television audience this month on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
“My music is straight facts,” Pollard recently told New York magazine. “There are a lot of gangsters in my ‘hood.”
Pollard’s criminal history included two arrests for gun and drug possession, authorities said.