Don’t Let Rapper Spend Life in Prison for His Music

freedom of speech

Target: Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego County District Attorney

Goal: Demand that all conspiracy charges against rapper Tiny Doo, based solely on his music, be immediately dropped

Brandon Duncan, also known as rapper Tiny Doo, faces felony charges for allegedly participating in a “street gang conspiracy.” He has no criminal record, and prosecutors aren’t claiming that he assaulted, harassed or robbed anyone, or sold drugs. Yet if convicted Duncan could spend the rest of his life in prison.

In a disturbing attack on free speech the San Diego rapper faces nine counts of conspiracy because of his album No Safety. Prosecutors allege that sales of the album benefited from songs’ descriptions of criminal gang activity.  Dana Greisen, chief of the District Attorney Office’s gang prosecution unit, has called rap “just another form of communication that gang members use in order to establish reputation and create fear and basically brag about their activities to increase status in other communities to commit crimes with impunity.”

Prosecutors hoping to convict Duncan must first prove that he was an active gang member, that he knew about specific crimes, and that he benefited from them. The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that his direct involvement in these crimes is not required in order to pursue conviction. Others allegedly linked to the same gang stand trial for conspiracy because of their Facebook posts.

Call on the District Attorney to immediately drop these charges against Duncan, and to cease prosecuting innocent people who have done little more than exercise their right to free speech.


Dear Ms. Dumanis,

Protecting the people of San Diego County from gang violence is a challenging and important task. In your work you must seek a balance between citizens’ constitutional rights and the rule of law. My reason for writing is to urge you to drop all charges of conspiracy made against Brandon Duncan because of his music. While his songs may discuss real acts of violence he has not been directly involved. To punish him for expressing himself crosses the line and is in fact a great injustice.

Duncan has no criminal record. His rap album No Safety is similar to many others in discussing the harsh realities of life in his community, which unfortunately includes gang activity and violence. To prosecute him on the basis of his rap music alone may technically be legal, yet it flies in the face of the United States’ core values and constitutionally protected freedoms. Please, release Duncan immediately and drop all conspiracy charges leveled against him.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fekner via Wikimedia Commons

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