Five of Tekashi 6ix9ine’s security guards, including a former New York City detective, have been charged for allegedly “robbing a man after chasing him through Harlem in SUVs with flashing lights and sirens” last August, prosecutors said Monday. All have been charged with robbery in the first and second degree, as well as criminal impersonation in the first degree (in this case, pretending to be cops).
This incident, a portion of which was captured on a now-viral video, took place on August 9, 2020. Manhattan prosecutors said that a 34-year-old man and his girlfriend spotted the rapper, whose given name is Daniel Hernandez, while driving in Harlem. When Hernandez’s entourage saw the man try to record the “GUMMO” performer on his cell phone, “they shouted at him and began to chase him as he drove away.”
The group from Hernandez’s team allegedly tailed the man about 20 blocks, “in three SUVs which were equipped with flashing lights and sirens.” When the man tried flagging down a marked New York Police Department car, an ex-cop on Hernandez’s security team, retired NYPD detective Daniel Laperuta, “flashed a retired NYPD Member of Service card, told the officers that the victim threatened them with a firearm, and rejoined the chase,” prosecutors claimed.
Laperuta allegedly called 911 as the group followed the victim, and once again claimed that the man threatened them with a gun, prosecutors said. The security team then “boxed in the victim’s car with their SUVs at the corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, and forced the victim to pull his car over.”
Another one of Hernandez’s bodyguards, Sammy Sprouse, allegedly “approached the victim, opened his car door, unbuckled his seatbelt and pulled the victim’s arm.” The victim’s phone “was knocked out of his hand to the ground,” where another security guard, Kristian Fuhse, allegedly stepped on it. The victim left his car and grappled with another guard, Egardo Cortez, to get his phone back, prosecutors said.
Then, Laperuta came over “with his hand on his holstered gun” and another guard, Christian Cortez, “pointed a Taser at the victim,” according to the district attorney. “When an unmarked police car approached with flashing lights, the team immediately got into their SUVs and fled the scene,” authorities said.
Laperuta went to the 28th Precinct to make a complaint, saying that the victim had threatened them with a gun. But when a lieutenant “confronted Laperuta about the improbability of his account,” the ex-detective withdrew his complaint and left.
In addition to the robbery and criminal impersonation charges, Laperuta is charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, a misdemeanor. During a court proceeding today, Laperuta’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
“A celebrity entourage is not a police department, and Manhattan is not the Wild West,” said District Attorney Cy Vance in statement. “As alleged, these highly-compensated vigilantes caravanned through the streets of Harlem with sirens flashing in order to track a man down and steal and break his phone. Along the way, a retired NYPD Detective tried to cover up their conduct by lying to his former colleagues and repeatedly claiming the victim had threatened to shoot them. False reports — especially about firearms — can carry devastating consequences and fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the actual police response.”
The news that Hernandez’s guards were charged comes a few days after he trolled Lil Durk, whose Georgia house was broken into early July 11, leading to a shoot-out with the intruders. From the info available, it doesn’t appear that Hernandez was directly involved in orchestrating or participating in this chase in Harlem, nor is he charged with anything relating to this incident. Hernandez is still on supervised release —which means he must stay out of trouble to avoid returning to prison for crimes involving his former gang. However, Hernandez wouldn’t have criminal liability simply by being around something like this; he’d actually have to be involved for supervised release to be in jeopardy.
Laperuta’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment. The names of attorneys for other men charged were not immediately available. Hernandez’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.