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Colton rapper 40 Glocc scoffs at gangster identity

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09:23 PM PDT on Friday, August 22, 2008

The Press-Enterprise

PDF: View the proposed court order against the Colton City Crips gang

Hip-hop magazines track his beefs with rivals. Industry titans record with him.

But 40 Glocc never had top billing like this.

There's his birth name -- Lawrence White -- again and again in the 225 pages that hit the streets this week, next to phrases like "a real rap star" and "all over the Internet."

The document is not a product of his publicity machine, but of the San Bernardino County district attorney's office. The 33-year-old White, signed to 50 Cent's G-Unit records, is described by authorities as a "top shot caller" in the Colton City Crips gang they're seeking to banish from the neighborhood it has claimed for decades.

Eighteen of almost 60 alleged members were served with injunction papers this week -- but not White, who wasn't in town. Still, he's named in the filings as a frequent trespasser at the Arbor Terrace Apartments, glorifying thug life to children by filming videos there.

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Lawrence White

"He is one of these guys that believe he's untouchable due to the fact that he does have some money," wrote Colton police Cpl. Shawn McFarland, who worked in the department's gang detail on the proposed injunction. "There's no doubt that he's still active."

Prosecutors typically use everything from tattoos to photographs seized in search warrants to convince to a judge that people should be included in a civil gang injunction. The rapper, whose name is a reference to a .40-caliber Glock handgun, misspelled to avoid the CK abbreviation for "Crips killer," said police are confusing his art with reality.

"You can't say I'm a Colton City Crip from my entertainment," White said by phone earlier this week.

His recording persona is no worse an influence on children than the killing machines played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1980s movies, he said.

He dismissed use of his online videos and interviews to incriminate him.

"What?" he asked. "I don't have to see no 12 jurors, but I'm just guilty like that?"

Drug Operation Base

If the injunction is approved, White and other alleged Colton City Crips could be arrested for setting foot in Arbor Terrace at Mill Street and Rancho Avenue, or the SB Liquor Market across the street.

Most no longer live there, but the complex is a base for the gang's elaborate drug operation, using lookouts and trashcans to hide contraband, according to surveillance footage included with the proposed injunction. SB Liquor has long been the gang's staging area, authorities say.

Although White has had only one conviction in San Bernardino County in the past decade -- for unlawful use of a driver's license -- his public image is that of a hardened street tough. In a 2006 interview with hip-hop magazine "Baller Status," in which he said his real name was Tory Gasaway, he reflects on growing up at Arbor Terrace, commonly known as "The Zoo."

"You got to ride around with pistols or risk getting gunned down," he told the interviewer. "I done got shot, been shot at, done the shooting."

Records show that that White was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a peace officer in 1996, but was not charged. He said he was wounded during a shootout with Colton police at Arbor Terrace, but denied firing a gun.

On videos posted on YouTube, 40 Glocc is seen assaulting a pedestrian over a bandana representing a rival gang, doing a Crips strut known as a "C-Walk," and greeting a friend who displays a handgun. Alternately, he raps about politics and is seen pointing out children at Arbor Terrace playing in a poorly maintained, flooded playground.

Police and prosecutors who crafted the proposed gang injunction said he is trying to have it both ways.

"He straddles this line and tries to keep enough street credibility yet seem like he's in legitimate business," said Lead Deputy District Attorney Mark Vos.

Colton police gang Officer Mike Collins, who knows White from contacts at Arbor Terrace, doesn't buy claims that 40 Glocc, who has recorded with Eminem, is fictional.

"He's not a rapper trying to be a gangster, he's a gangster trying to be a rapper," Collins said. "He is what he says."

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'Going to the Store'

Colton police have proof White still visits Arbor Terrace, where men can be seen on surveillance video dealing crack cocaine in broad daylight, in the presence of children. A video shot last year shows the rapper among them, walking up to a red car and exchanging money with a woman.

The position of the camera and car make it impossible to see whether drugs changed hands. White laughed at the idea of the tape being used against him.

"You got me on tape passing somebody some money?" he asked. "That means they were going to the store. The people there are happy to see me come from nothing and go to something, and I try to help them anyway I can."

In their filings, officers describe Colton City Crips throwing Molotov cocktails at Arbor Terrace management for towing their cars, enlisting children as drug lookouts and threatening to burn apartments if residents don't allow them to be used as hideouts. Gang members have been convicted of shooting people for not giving up a cigarette.

Whether White participates in that, police say his rap videos and presence at the complex help the gang's cause. Police said that as recently as May, White was at Arbor Terrace at 2 a.m. with a reputed gang leader nicknamed "Corleone."

"He perpetuates the myth that that the Arbor Terrace is known in the street as 'The Zoo,'" wrote Colton police Sgt. Eric Miller. "This enhances the gang's identity and perpetuates the lore that the gang owns the place and does what it wants there."

SB Liquor Market is in the injunction for the same reason, prosecutors said. One 40 Glocc music video shows men staging a mass theft of Corona beer, blue Crips bandanas hanging from their pants pockets.

They all shake White's hand as he nonchalantly leans against the front window.

"Everybody knows that guy," said SB Liquor owner Imad Kahala, whose brother, a clerk, is an actor in the video, chasing after the gang. "But I don't know what they've been doing after they leave my business."

Reach Paul LaRocco at 909-806-3064 or plarocco@PE.com

Seeking Banishment

In addition to standard gang injunction terms, prosecutors are proposing tougher restrictions on Colton City Crips

Arbor Terrace Apartments: Gang members would be subject to arrest for being seen at the Colton complex, where authorities allege the gang was founded and members conduct drug sales.

SB Liquor Market: Banishment terms also would apply here. Authorities say the gang has long used the location, across the street from Arbor Terrace, as a meeting place and refuge from police.

Source: San Bernardino County district attorney's office

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