In today's top "dog bites man" story, a rapper who boasted on Twitter about beating a murder rap is accused of running a violent drug gang out of the Gowanus Projects. Ronald Herron, AKA Ra Diggs, has been charged with heading up a crack cocaine and heroin distribution organization; he was arrested Tuesday night with two other alleged crew members outside the Amnesia nightclub in Chelsea. A loaded 9-mm. handgun was found in the glove box. It's worth noting that Herron, who has promised online to "turn the pigs kids into orphans," first turned up in the news at age 12.
City Room digs up a front page NY Times article from 1994 about a 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a cop in the Gowanus Houses. The kid was carrying a toy rifle in a stairwell when he was killed by the NYPD; Herron was playing cops-and-robbers with him and witnessed the shooting. Now he's 28 and the kids in the neighborhood know him as a rapper. "We'd see him around doing a video, he makes sure he reps his neighborhood," Saquan Casilla, 18, tells the News. Here's a taste!
The bust, which included Herron and eight others, is the culmination of a four year joint investigation between DEA and NYPD officers, who made 65 undercover purchases of narcotics from the gang. Herron's tweets include claims that he once had someone "shot from a hospital bed" and that his team of "niggas will kill for meee." In 2002, he was put on trial for the drug-related murder of Fredrick Brooks, who was fatally shot at the Gowanus Houses. The Post reports that one witness testified that she saw Herron kill Brooks, but two other witnesses declined to testify; the feds say Herron threatened to kill them, and he was acquitted.
Herron faces life in prison if convicted, but the growing Free Ra Diggs movement on Twitter is demanding his immediate release.