Did video mocking JoJo’s murder get alleged gang member killed?
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporter | firstname.lastname@example.org October 19, 2012 7:18PM
Photo of Keith Bonds, a Black Disciples member who police believe was killed in retaliation for the September 4, 2012 slaying of up-and-coming rapper Joseph "Lil JoJo" Coleman.
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:24AM
The wave of feuding gangs going online to call out rivals — digital graffiti called “cyber-banging” — may have not only led to the murder of aspiring rapper Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman last month, but also a 26-year-old parolee in a potential retaliation slaying.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday that police are investigating whether the Sept. 17 shooting of Keith “Keke” Bonds was linked to Lil JoJo’s Sept. 4 murder in Englewood.
Sources now say Bonds and a teenager — both members of the Black Disciples street gang — appeared in an online video making fun of the murder of JoJo, 18, a reputed member of the rival Gangster Disciples.
Investigators think the video might have prompted the Gangster Disciples to come after Bonds and the teen — because both were soon shot, sources said.
The 15-year-old was wounded on Sept. 15. Two days later, Bonds was murdered near 59th and Normal — a Black Disciples stronghold.
“All of these shootings are connected to ‘cyber-banging,’ ” said a law-enforcement source familiar with the investigations.
JoJo’s murder grabbed national attention after sources said Chicago Police investigators were looking into any connection between the killing and an ongoing, online feud with star rapper Chief Keef and his allies.
Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, is a 17-year-old from the South Side who signed to Interscope Records. Police haven’t accused Chief Keef of any involvement in JoJo’s murder.
No one has been charged with JoJo’s killing — or with the murder of Keith Bonds.
Bonds’ mother, Charmaine Cole, said she had no idea whether her son was killed in retribution for JoJo’s murder.
She acknowledged her son was on parole for drug possession and burglary, but she said he wasn’t violent.
“His dream was to start a restaurant,” Cole said. “He was one of those people who had high hopes.”
Cole said she wasn’t aware that her son was involved in a video making fun of JoJo’s killing. But she said she was told that another video makes fun of her son’s death — and the earlier killings of two of his friends.
“Was this about a video? It’s hard to say,” Cole said.
“These 17-year-old and 18-year-olds are all shooting. It’s crazy,” she said. “Even if my son was a Black Disciple, or whatever, I hope they don’t give up on those killers. I want them to be found.”
To understand Chief Keef’s world, you need to glimpse the violent online videos that have become the city’s gang graffiti of the 21st century.
Chief Keef has put out his own videos that are full of references to the Black Disciples in Englewood, as well as guns and drugs.
Such videos are vehicles for rappers to showcase their raw music. Chief Keef’s videos draw millions of views, including his “I Don’t Like” video, which has been watched more than 18 million times on YouTube. A remix video by Kanye West, featuring Chief Keef, has been watched more than 23 million times.
But rap videos are also potent scoreboards for the winners and losers in Chicago’s gang wars.
And sometimes, they spark more violence.
JoJo’s video might be an example of that. His video mocked the Black Disciples. In it, he declares “We BDK” — street slang for a Black Disciple Killer.
In the months before his murder, JoJo and Chief Keef’s supporters in the Black Disciples were in an online war of words.
Hours after Lil JoJo was shot while on a bike in Englewood, Chief Keef’s Twitter account posted a tweet mocking the 18-year-old’s murder. Chief Keef later said his account was hijacked.
Police think Chief Keef could become the next target — one of the arguments a prosecutor made Wednesday to place the young rapper in juvenile detention for a probation violation for his own safety.
A juvenile court judge is considering whether to revoke his probation in a gun case. Chief Keef allegedly violated probation when he held a rifle during a videotaped interview, and when he failed to obtain a GED. The judge scheduled a Nov. 20 hearing on the request.
Chief Keef’s attorney argued against the request, saying his client is living safely in California making music under the guidance of his label, Interscope. The lawyer, Dennis Berkson, said the video of his client holding a gun was a dumb mistake and that he was pursuing a GED.