South Florida Rapper Kodak Black Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison

Kodak Black
Kodak Black Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Kodak Black — the Broward County native who is both one of Florida's most popular rap stars and an accused rapist — was sentenced today in Miami federal court to three years and ten months in prison after he pleaded guilty to federal weapons violations earlier this year.

The 22-year-old — who was born Dieuson Octave but later legally changed his name to Bill K. Kapri — was arrested in March while en route to the Miami hip-hop festival Rolling Loud. Black had already been facing sexual assault charges in South Carolina after a teen told her high-school nurse that Black had ripped off her clothes, bit her, and violently raped her in a hotel room in 2016. Those charges are still pending.

But that open case meant the rapper was barred from buying weapons. In January, however, he bought a gun from a Hialeah arms dealer. As it turns out, the feds say he intentionally evaded a background check. The rapper reportedly did not use his correct social security number when buying the gun, but when he used the accurate information during a later background check in March, he was banned from buying more weapons.

In May, federal prosecutors claimed Black tried to use one of the illegally purchased guns to shoot a "rival rapper," but Black's lawyer has instead said his client bought the guns to defend himself from threats.

Ahead of his sentencing, Black had faced up to ten years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for 46 to 57 months — roughly three to five years. But in a sentencing memorandum filed November 8, Black's lawyer, Bradford Cohen, begged the court for leniency and noted his client had consulted with a Broward Sheriff's Office employee and completed a firearms training course before making the gun purchase that was considered illegal. Cohen argued Black should have faced 37 to 44 months in prison instead.

Cohen also noted the prison stint could substantially harm Black's career and said the rapper had planned to use the proceeds from his 2019 Rolling Loud performance to start a charity in honor of Meadow Pollack, one of the students killed in the Parkland shooting.

The sentencing memo also pointed out Black has donated to the families of slain law enforcement members in South Carolina — without mentioning he is still facing rape charges in that state as well.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.