PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In the rap world, the line separating fantasy and reality is often blurred. Rap videos often celebrate the life of gangs, guns and drugs, raising the question: are the performers gangsters for real or are they just acting?
A trio of aspiring local rappers is accused of stepping over that line.
Police say they saw those three young men shooting a rap video using Glock 9mm handguns as props. And when officers moved in, those guns turned out to be real, which landed them under arrest.
The aspiring young rappers were shooting the video between buildings in the Commons Housing Community when police say they observed them pulling what looked to be real Glock handguns from their waistbands and hoodies.
Police continued to watch as youths waved the guns at the camera spouting rap lyrics. Then they say two of the suspects met another man in this stairwell and made an apparent drug sale. That's when police moved in and arrested all three.
Quavon McLaughlin, Demitrius Reynolds and Robert Jamison are charged with various gun and drug crimes. Police recovered three Glock handguns, about 100 stamp bags of suspected heroin, crack cocaine and $160 in cash.
"Zone 1 did an outstanding enforcement job arresting three individuals, 18 and 19 years of age, and each one had a firearm. A 9mm handgun. Three in that small group is very alarming," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert.
Something like this has happened before in other cities. Three years ago, in Houston, Texas in a video by rapper NFL Cartel Bo, they used alleged gang members as extras and it led to the arrest of more than a dozen suspects. And a similar raid of a rap video shoot in San Francisco in 2015 led to similar arrests.
The incident here happened a week and a half ago in a North Side community which detectives say has become the site of an open-air drug market. Police have made several arrests here in the past few weeks, responding to resident complaints about drug sales and shootings.
In fact, the three men in this case were arrested just a few yards from the sight of the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Rasaun Taylor just a week before. And Chief Scott Schubert says that shows the callousness of the three.
"To me it shows they don't care. They don't care about themselves. They don't care about the public. They're promoting it on videos," said Schubert.
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