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June 25, 2010

Producer of Stop Snitching video sentenced

The Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office announced today the sentencings of two gang members, including the infamous Ronnie Thomas, known as Skinny Suge, the producer of the Stop Snitching videos (link goes to YouTube, video contains offensive language).

In the video, Thomas said, "I can say what I want. F--- the police. F--- Patricia Jessamy. I can't go to jail for that. This is how I feel. What y'all getting me for? Freedom of speech?"  What they got him for was racketeering conspiracy, and he got nearly the maximum sentence.

The video came to symbolize Baltimore's witness intimidation culture, and got NBA star and native Baltimorean Carmelo Anthony in hot water for a cameo. The player later apologized and said he didn't endorse its message. 

Here is the statement from federal authorities:

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Sherman Pride, a/k/a Dark Black and DB, age 35, of Salisbury, Maryland, to 292 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release; and sentenced co-defendant Ronnie Thomas, a/k/a Rodney Thomas, Skinny Suge and Tall Vialz, age 36, of Baltimore, to 235 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for participating in a racketeering conspiracy through the Tree Top Piru Bloods (TTP Bloods), which engaged in narcotics trafficking, conspiracy to commit murder and robbery.  Pride also was convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine.

“Many dangerous criminals have been convicted and removed from Maryland as a result of superb work by police and prosecutors on the TTP Bloods investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Racketeering cases often are time-consuming, but they make a dramatic contribution to public safety."

"Violent criminals are not only infiltrating our metropolitan cities, they are spreading their destruction to smaller communities,” says ATF Special Agent in Charge Joseph Riehl. “Unfortunately for the criminals, no matter where they set up shop, ATF will shut them down. We are more committed to getting them off the streets, than they are committed to being on the streets.”

For more information:

TTP Bloods, a violent gang, originated from a street gang known as “the Bloods” that was formed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1970s. The Bloods broke into individual  “sets” including a subset known as Tree Top Pirus (TTP).

TTP spread throughout the country, including Maryland. TTP in Maryland has its roots in a local gang which began in the Washington County Detention Center in Hagerstown, Maryland in about 1999.

The gang was formed for mutual protection in response to the aggression of other inmates from Baltimore and spread throughout Maryland mostly by recruiting from inside Maryland prisons.
According to testimony at their trial, from 2005 to February 2008 Pride and Thomas were  members of TTP.

In letters written by TTP leaders, Pride was identified as the leader of the Maryland Eastern Shore set of the TTP and Thomas was also identified as a gang leader in Maryland.   Thomas produced both “Stop Snitching” videos.  Thomas discussed with another gang member retaliating against a store owner who refused to sell his “Stop Snitching 2” video.

Testimony was also introduced at trial that: Pride was arrested after attempting to toss a bag containing crack and drug paraphernalia into a car to hide it from police; and that Pride told a fellow prisoner in a jailhouse that he was a high-ranking Blood on the Eastern Shore and had arranged the transport of kilograms of cocaine from California to Salisbury, Maryland.

This case is the result of a long-term joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office. Twenty-two defendants have been convicted of the RICO conspiracy and 16 of those have been sentenced to between 21 months and 30 years in prison.

Four other defendants have pleaded guilty to related charges. Charges filed against two remaining defendants are pending.

In addition to Thomas, eight other individuals connected with the nitching” videos have been prosecuted in federal court. Co-defendant Van Sneed, who appeared in the original video, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.  His sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Akiba Matthews, the cameraman who appeared in the original video, was convicted of drug and gun offenses and sentenced in August 2008 to 30 years in prison.

Sherman Kemp, who was prominently featured in the original video, pleaded guilty to drug and gun offenses and was sentenced in October 2008 to 15 years in prison. George Butler, who appeared in the original video, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute drugs and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Warren Polston, who speaks in the original video, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced to five years in prison. Eric Bailey, who proclaimed “rat poison” the cure for cooperators in the original video, was sentenced to 37 months for a gun crime. Former Baltimore City police officers William King and Antonio L. Murray, whose names were featured in the original “Stop Snitching” video, were convicted of robbery, drug trafficking and firearms offenses and sentenced in June 2006 to 315 years and 139 years in prison, respectively.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 3:15 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Breaking news, Gangs, Witness intimidation
        

Comments

They both should have spent the remainder of their lives behind bars without contact with any other inmates or the outside world. Better yet, the death penalty is justified here. This is a slap on the wrist, they will be out sooner than anyone would like and behind bars they will be just as dangerous if left to mingle with other degenerates.

Why do black people hate snitches more than they hate murderers, rapists, and other criminal thugs? And why do we tolerate these stupid, ridiculous 'street rules'? These thugs are animals and should be treated as such. Where's the NAACP and ACLU to support this dead guy's civil rights? Oh that's right. They are too busy tackling non-issues.

I think you lose your right to get self-righteous about your "freedom of speech" when you produce a series of videos intimidating other people from using their own.

And Tod, I'm pretty sure Ronnie Thomas doesn't represent all blacks. Unless there was a vote at some point that I'm unaware of. I think that's kind of like applying David Duke's opinions to all white people.

Im whilte. Most of the black people I know are friends, neighbors and co-workers who are very decent people trying to make a living in the world today. I have personally been a victim of violent crime, witness intimidation and I think that anyone making a video to support crime can not hide behind their first ammendment rights because they forfeited them when they took away my rights to life, liberty and happiness. When your free speech incarcerates me in my house, afraid to walk my own streets, it is time to take you down. And so they did.

Does anyone know how many of these guys ended up turning into "snitches" once they faced charges of their own?? i thought i had read somewhere that a few of them actually ended up becoming the thing they claimed to so hate.

for all u who is down talking no snitchin is because u dont leave the life style. most of u never probably been beat up by police 4 no reason, been 2 jail 4 any real reason, singled out 4 any real reason, so u can only talk what u dont knw......at the end of the day theres real shit goin on other than the comic book life yall live in..police fprce is a gang too u stupid asses, the goverment is a gang but just legal so b4 u go running your mouth sit and think 4 a minute its bigger than what yall are talkin bout. ohh yeah and on the snitch sht its really simple if u are not invoved mine your fuckin business its that simple, if u have nothin 2 do wit it dont involve urself and if u do then u bring heay on u 4 talking bout shit that dont concern you so yeah u should pay by street punishment....and if u dont like it move out of the jungle and let lions be lions suckas!!!!!

Tod I don't think all black people hate snitches more then murderers etc but people (all ethnic groups) in crime related profession hate them because of the disloyalty it causes. A guy get shot because a drug deal gone bad, well it is part of the game it was a cause for it....but a guy rats on another is a no-no in the street world. In fact the same people who are outraged by this code of conduct are the same ethnic groups that actually started the CODE...blacks just borrowed it.

The comment posted by "real" explains it all...He seems to be a very well educated and reasonable individual. This is the mentality of these morons. Get educated and go earn some money for once in your life.

I just wish our tax dollars didn't have to be wasted housing these scum bags. A ten dollar box of bullets would be a better resolution.

ALLEN: I don't think it's a matter of "black people hating snitches" so much... I think it's more of a matter of THUGS hating snitches so much. Whether the thug is BLACK, WHITE, ITALIAN or otherwise. This is an age-old, unspoken rule that has been incorporated into the mafia, street thuigs, gang members (black, white, hispanic or otheriwse). So really, let's not make this the old scape goat of calling this a "black thing."

On another note, I beleive the "stop snitching" rule to be one of the most ignorant of and stupid rules of the street. Many people have lost their lives for not abiding by this rule. It's ridiculous. I'm glad they are putting Thomas behind bars, I'm sure his video has probably claimed a lot of lives by those thugs that felt they were disrespected by being "snitched on."

@Real. I can fully appreciate where Real is coming from. I dont say that with sarcasm I say it with compassion. He lives in a world full of hatred and mistrust and crime and retaliates in kind.It doesnt make it right, but he was the only one on that side of the arguement to make even a feeble attempt to try to explain his position. His opportunities in life are obviously limited, he will most likely die by the hands of the police or a rival gang member soon. Does anyone actually believe he thinks his rantings are right? Of course not. He is an example of what the police, decent citizens of all colors, and others of his ilk contend with everyday. My question is what would Real do if presented a real opportunity to change it all? Right now he is just a rabid dog to dangerous to get close to. What if there was a program that would work?

snitches deserve stiches. bottom line.

shot out to real everybodys a gang in some sort of way tha police when they are dirty and one cop tells on another they become the enemy when u tell somebody somethin ur friend ask u not to u become unbenefitted with that person but when u are livin in a life of crime and u get jammed up why bring down the next man idiots dont nobody know nuffin till u tell em sumtin

Stop snitching, its that simple, handle your own sht, I just can't believe that people were raised any differently. Snitches breeding more snitches, it's a damn shame.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.



Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.
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