Before his life was cut short during a home invasion in the Hollywood Hills, Pop Smoke was dealing with legal issues. The New York Post reports that the New York Police Department was targeting Pop Smoke for information on Crip gang members.
Citing a source close to Pop Smoke, real name Bashar Jackson, the NYPD first tried to get information from him when he was arrested in December of 2019 for possessing a stolen Rolls Royce Wraith. The detective questioned Pop about a non-fatal shooting that happened in June of 2019, claiming they had footage of the rapper driving a car in reverse near the scene of the shooting.
Police also tried to get information about 823 Crips, GS9, and other Brooklyn street gangs, but according to his lawyer Peter Frankel, he refused to cooperate with police.
“Any conversation with Pop about cooperation was a very short one. It’s something he would never entertain doing,” Frankel said of his client.
When he refused to cooperate, a federal charge of interstate transportation was added to the six-state charges he was facing in January; likely an attempt to pressure Pop into cooperating, Frankel said.
“It’s not uncommon for the federal government to become involved in an investigation when they believe that doing so will help them in a way a state court prosecution may not be able to do,” he said.
Pop was then arrested by the FBI at JFK Airport and was again asked about the 823 Crips and another shooting on January 4. He was released on a $250,000 bond, agreed to stay away from known gang members, and to submit to drug tests to US pretrial services as part of his conditions, the Post reports.
His legal issues began to affect his pockets when he was forced to drop out of a scheduled performance at the “BK Drip Concert” at Kings Theatre on February 16 because it was determined that some of the other performers were identified as gang members.
Pop smoke canceled his performance, but his lawyer maintained that he was not a “person of interest” in the shooting, but rather a possible witness.
Just three days after the missed performance opportunity, Pop Smoke was gunned down at his Hollywood Hills rental after posting the address to social media.