Some say he was 50 Cent before 50 Cent. Some called him “the Robin Hood of The Ghetto,” while the establishment dubbed him “the crack city terminator.” In the hood, his solution is considered the only possible answer to an ongoing epidemic of police brutality. Some of your favorite rappers, from French Montana to Lloyd Banks to Jay-Z, have name-dropped him on their tracks. BET felt he was so important to American culture that their American Gangster series had to open with him. Still, only an educated few know why the name Larry Davis continues to ring bells more than three decades after that fateful night in November of ’86.

On February 20, 2008, Adam Abdul Hakeem, aka Larry Davis, was stabbed to death in Shawangunk State Prison in New York by a fellow inmate after serving 23 years for an illegal weapons charge. Most would say that people die in American prisons daily, so what’s the big deal about another dead prisoner? Well, it must first be explained why Mr. Davis was in jail for so long on a mere gun charge in the first place.

As he said on camera after his capture in 1986, “the police gave me the guns!”, that Davis was finally charged after being acquitted of shooting 6 NYPD officers. The then-21-year-old BX native’s defense was that he hit the officers in self-defense. Davis exposed that he sold drugs for these Bronx precinct officers, claiming that they wanted to kill him because of what he knew about the department’s drug operation, and a Bronx jury believed him. This case was the first and possibly the only time in American history that a civilian was cleared of all charges in the shooting of a police officer.

The NYPD and then-Mayor Edward Koch were outraged at the outcome. After Larry’s death, former Mayor Koch said, “The prison system did what the criminal justice system could not.” It’s safe to say that with the endless accusations against the NYPD and other police departments around the country for brutality against Black and brown people, the sentiment of sympathy for Larry Davis has been met with fierce opposition.

With the recent killings of Black youth by police and civilians becoming the norm, the question in the urban community is whether or not Larry Davis’ solution to police brutality is the only option left. With normal citizens being allowed to shoot first and ask questions later regarding Black youth and the prison industrial complex as the penalty for defending yourself, the bare truth is that it has become the only option for some. We’ve heard Larry’s name come from the mouths of everyone from ATCQ to Jay-Z. With landmark cases from Emmitt Till to Botham Jean, history reveals that people such as Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, and even Larry Davis will always be heroes.

Check out Larry’s story on Troy Reed’s Street Stories Larry Davis: A Routine Typical Hit, BET’s American Gangster series and is also rumored to be in the hands of several filmmakers, which could spawn the story on the silver screen.

The post BHM| Today In Hip Hop History: Larry Davis Killed in Shawangunk Prison 16 Years Ago first appeared on The Source.

The post BHM| Today In Hip Hop History: Larry Davis Killed in Shawangunk Prison 16 Years Ago appeared first on The Source.


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