Friday, August 17, 2018
Public safety

Wu-Tang Clan in Pasco? Rapper says rights were violated. But is he of the Wu?

NEW PORT RICHEY — A rapper who claims to be affiliated with the legendary rap group Wu-Tang Clan was arrested last week after deputies said he refused to identify himself during a traffic stop.

Marques Andre Johnson, 33, who performs under the rap name "Andre Roxx," believes that the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office violated his Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure when it arrested him during an Aug. 2 traffic stop.

That’s according to a press release announcing a rally and news conference set for noon Friday in front of the West Pasco Judicial Center.

The press release refers to Johnson as "of the Wu-Tang Clan."

But is Johnson, in fact, connected to the Staten Island rap super-group?

The Clearwater attorney he hired to represent him, Steve Bartlett, told the Tampa Bay Times that his client is affiliated with Wu-Tang.

In media appearances and on the cover art of a recently released song, Johnson has also claimed affiliation with the Wu. He has three singles available on the streaming music service Spotify, all of which have been played less than 1,000 times.

In fact, the group has a sprawling network of collaborators known as the Killa Beez. A 2012 YouTube video posted by Johnson appears to show another Wu-Tang-affiliated rapper Walter "Killah Priest" Reed declaring that Andre Roxx is "an official Wu-Tang Killa Bee."

But Johnson’s connection to the Wu was called into question through a case of mistaken identity: In 2014, the gossip website TMZ reported that a Wu-Tang affiliated rapper named Andre Johnson severed his own penis and jumped off a second-story balcony in Los Angeles.

According to a 2016 article by the Hollywood Reporter, Marques "Andre Roxx" Johnson later claimed in a lawsuit that TMZ mistakenly identified him as the performer who injured himself, confusing him with Wu-Tang affiliated rapper Andre "Christ Bearer" Johnson. A judge dismissed the case.

The Hollywood Reporter also wrote that during the 2014 incident the Wu-Tang Clan distanced itself from Andre Roxx by writing on their blog that he had nothing "to do with the WUTANG brand."

And Andre Roxx himself, perhaps in an attempt to correct the official record, posted a nude photo of himself online, reported LA Weekly in 2017.

The Pasco County incident involving Marques Johnson took place while his father was driving them near the intersection of U.S. 19 and Jasmine Boulevard at about 9:20 p.m.

Deputies said they stopped the vehicle because it had an obstructed license plate, according to an arrest report. Johnson, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, broadcast the encounter online via Facebook Live.

Johnson, citing his Fourth Amendment rights, declined to give deputies his identification. He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer and obstructing without violence. Johnson, of Johnstown, Pa., was freed hours later after posting $150 bail.

Bartlett said the arrest also violated his client’s Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

The Sheriff’s Office said it reviewed the arrest and found that deputies acted appropriately.

Contact Jack Evans at [email protected] Follow @JackHEvans.

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