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Police Using Bogus Law for Mass Arrests in San Diego — The Result? Man With No Criminal Record Faces Life in Prison for 'Flashing Gang Signs' on Facebook

Aaron Harvey. (Photo Screen capture form YouTube)
Aaron Harvey. (Photo Screen capture form YouTube)

By Travis Gettys
San Diego man with no criminal record is facing a possible life term in prison for flashing gang signs in some Facebook photos.

Aaron Harvey and 14 other men, including the rapper Tiny Doo, were charged under an obscure California law accusing them of conspiring with gang members who shot nine people in 2013 and early 2014.

Harvey and the rapper, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, are not directly tied to the shootings, but prosecutors are employing a 2000 conspiracy law that allows prosecution of gang members if they benefit from crimes by other gang members.

Prosecutors say Duncan’s music sales were boosted by the shootings, but Harvey’s alleged gains are not easily quantified.

“They’re saying I benefited because my stature, my respect, went up,” Harvey said. “I didn’t even know I had any stature. I don’t understand how someone can benefit from something they don’t even know exists.”

Superior Court Judge David McGill recently dismissed charges against some of the defendants in the case, finding that prosecutors failed to prove the men willfully benefited from the shootings.

Attorneys for Harvey and Duncan will ask the judge to dismiss their charges in a hearing set for March 16, and about 75 people rallied Friday before a court hearing the case at San Diego County Courthouse.

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