A Miami federal judge sentenced South Florida rapper Kodak Black to three years and ten months in prison Wednesday on weapons charges, far less than the maximum 10-year sentence he could have received.
“Young people do stupid things and I normally give them a break for that,” Judge Federico Moreno told Black. “The problem is that you have been doing stupid things since 15.”
Black, 22, had pleaded guilty in August to lying on a background form when he purchased handguns at a Hialeah weapons store in January, and again in March when he attempted to buy more guns. He apologized to the court as well as to his family and friends.
“I’m sorry for the actions that led me to where I’m standing,” said Black, handcuffed. “I do take full responsibility for my mishap.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Brown argued that Black’s recent actions were not those of a man reformed, and he urged for an eight-year sentence. He cited an incident on Oct. 29 in which Black, while incarcerated, had reportedly fought with a corrections officer.
After being pepper-sprayed, Black punched the guard twice and then grabbed the guard’s testicles and held on “to the point where his abdomen and intestinal wall were breached,” an FBI agent testified. Black was reportedly under the influence of drugs and required four officers to restrain him, the agent said. No charges have yet been filed, the prosecutor said.
The judge noted the incident, but said the hearing was focused on Black’s false statements on the mandatory Firearms Transaction Record. The form asks applicants if they are facing an indictment for a felony that could result in being sent to prison for more than a year. Black remains under indictment on charges of criminal sexual conduct in South Carolina, an ongoing case from 2016 in which he faces a maximum 30-year sentence. But the rapper said he had no felony charges when he filled out the background form to buy guns at Lou’s Police Distributors.
The purchases were approved the first time because Black, whose legal name is Bill K. Kapri, did not use his actual Social Security number. In March, Black used the correct number on the form and was blocked from buying guns after a background check revealed his criminal charges in South Carolina.
One gun Black purchased for more than $2,000 in January, a Sig MPXK9, later showed up at the scene of an attempted shooting with a live round in the chamber and Black’s fingerprints on it. The gun had been fired at two homes, including one with three children inside. Black was reportedly targeting a rival rap artist.
A second handgun Black bought from Lou’s in January was found in the trunk of a Porsche Panamera crossing the Canada-U.S. border in April. The rapper, driving with his entourage in a different car, was found with eight grams of marijuana. He was charged with criminal possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Police had arrested Black on May 11, right before he went on stage at the Rolling Loud music festival at Hard Rock Stadium. He was held without bond, due to the charges connected with the guns.
“This defendant needs a reset,” the assistant U.S. attorney Brown told the judge. “He keeps getting break after break. We need to give him some tough love.”
In a pre-sentencing memorandum requesting leniency, Black’s lawyer Bradford Cohen said that his “highly impressionable and heavily troubled” client had been “led astray by environmental pressures and influences.”
Cohen said that Black had bought the guns for self-defense after receiving public death threats from gangs and gang members. Black even purchased an armored Cadillac Escalade for safety, Cohen said.
Black had also taken the time to obtain a certificate of completion from a firearms training course, Cohen pointed out.
While admitting that Black, who grew up in the Golden Acres public housing project in Broward, has had run-ins with the law since his early teens, his lawyer stated that some of his past crimes were misunderstood. Black had once been charged with robbery and kidnapping, Cohen said, but that was after five individuals robbed his mother’s home. Black had rounded up the would-be robbers from the neighborhood, taken their cellphones, and brought them back to his home to apologize to his mother.
The lawyer had also asked the court to consider Black’s “extensive philanthropy”, such as donating two years’ worth of socks and underwear to a Broward center for at-risk youth and anonymously donating money to the families of fallen police officers.
The judge acknowledged Black’s history of generosity. He then suggested to Black that he extend his charitable spirit to the injured corrections officer.
Before handing down the sentence, the judge remarked that he had heard “a tattoo reflects what someone really feels.” He asked Black about the tattoos on his knuckles, which read: “Kill Bill.”
Black explained that KB were his initials and that the words rhymed. The judge nodded.
“He makes, what, a million and a half a year?” the judge asked.
Black’s lawyer looked at his client and smiled: “When he’s not in jail, he does all right.”
The Grammy-nominated rapper had released his last album, “Dying to Live” in December 2018, debuting at the top of the Billboard albums chart.
“Hold It Down While I’m On Lock,” Black posted on Instagram shortly after his sentencing. “Calling Shots From The Box #Literally”.