LOWER MANHATTAN — Rapper Bobby Shmurda has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges he conspired with a Brooklyn gang in several shootings.
The 22-year-old performer had pleaded guilty earlier this year to avoid going to trial on counts carrying penalties that could have put him behind bars for decades.
Before he was sentenced Wednesday, Shmurda told the judge in the Manhattan courtroom multiple times he wanted to withdraw the guilty plea, but the request was denied.
“I was forced to take the plea,” the Brooklyn-born rapper said. “I don’t want it.”
Shmurda whose birth name is Ackquille Pollard, has been imprisoned at Rikers Island since he was arrested in December 2014 leaving a Midtown recording studio. Police found firearms and crack cocaine in the car, officials said.
NYPD arrested him and more than 15 other members of the G Stone Crips, known as GS9, in a sting connecting the East Flatbush, Brooklyn-based gang with a number of murders, shootings and public disputes. Police connected Shmurda to planning several of these violent incidents.
Shmurda is best known for the rap song “Hot Boy,” which talks about street violence. He rose to fame after he was featured in a music video for his song doing the “Shmoney dance,” which quickly spread and become a viral trend.
While defendants and lawyers mingled in and out of the courtroom for the majority of the morning Wednesday, the room’s benches were full when it was Shmurda’s turn before the judge. People chatted excitedly in hushed whispers and strained to catch a glimpse of the rapper — clad in a white shirt and jail orange pants — over the heads of the dozen cops stationed around him.
With the guilty plea, Shmurda was sentenced to serve seven years, followed by five years probation.
Shmurda’s mother, Leslie Pollard, expressed her anger to reporters regarding the sentencing, telling them the whole process had been a “nightmare and the court system was “screwing” her son.
“We don’t have a chance because of our color,” Pollard said. “They’re trying to make him into a point. They’re f******g up his career.”
Several different lawyers have represented Shmurda since his December 2014 arrest as the rapper maintained his innocence and tried to avoid time in jail so he could resume his music career.
Pollard told reporters their family had decided on its most recent lawyer, Alex Spiro, because he had promised to win in a trial and get the charges against Shmurda dropped. However, Pollard says, Spiro forced her son to agree to the plea deal or he would “never seen the streets ever again.”
The 42-year-old Brooklyn restaurant owner echoed her son’s claims, which were detailed in a well-publicized magazine interview, that the court system was biased against blacks and stereotyped rap artists as being “all from the projects.”
“They’re all friends in there … it’s lies on top of lies,” Pollard said. “They don’t know my son as Ackquille. They only know him on paper (as Shmurda).”