I didn’t attend rapper Kodak Black’s concert at the Treasure City nightclub in Florence, South Carolina on February 6, 2016. Nor for that matter did I attend the afterparty held at a nearby Comfort Inn and Suites. Accordingly, I have no way of knowing for certain whether Black violently raped a high school girl from Richland county in his hotel room in the early morning hours of February 7, 2016 – as was alleged in a probable cause affidavit accompanying a warrant issued for his arrest on May 26, 2016.
Certainly police and prosecutors were sufficiently convinced of the facts of the case to charge Black with rape …
According to the affidavit (.pdf), Black forced his teenage victim “onto the bed in (his hotel room) and then “onto the floor of the room.” At that point, he is alleged to have forcibly removed her underwear and sexually assaulted her – including putting his penis “into the victim’s vagina.”
“The victim repeatedly told (Black) no and to stop,” the affidavit alleged. “The defendant did not stop.”
Black was further accused of biting the victim “on her neck and her right breast” as he raped her – injuries which were “documented in a sexual assault kit” collected after the victim reported her injuries to the nurse at her high school.
The Florence county sheriff’s office (FCSO) incident report associated with this sexual assault was even more graphic, describing how Black allegedly pushed his victim “into (a) wall” as she screamed for him to stop.
Horrific stuff …
His “excuse?” According to his victim, Black said he “just couldn’t help himself.”
Black – whose given name is Dieuson Octave – was originally charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct, a crime which could have landed him behind bars for thirty years. This week, though, the 23-year-old Pompano Beach, Florida native pleaded guilty in the S.C. twelfth judicial circuit to the lesser charge of first degree assault and battery – a crime for which he was sentenced to eighteen months probation.
This exceedingly lenient sentence was negotiated by S.C. twelfth circuit solicitor Ed Clements and accepted by S.C. circuit court judge Michael G. Nettles (stay tuned for much more on these two individuals and their alleged mishandling of this case).
During his sentencing hearing in a Florence county courtroom last Thursday (April 28, 2021), Black addressed his victim – who watched the proceedings in a nearby office via a closed-circuit feed.
“I apologize this happened and I’m hopeful we can all move forward,” Black said.
The moment he was out of the courtroom, though, his tuned changed …
“(Five years) later … both us just wanted to get this sh*t over wit AND I ain’t have to come off no money,” Black tweeted, presuming to speak for himself and his victim.
Black added that the terms of his plea agreement did not require him to register as a sex offender.
“Ain’t gotta register as a sex offender or (nothing), shit that’s a play if you ask me lol y’all got me f*cked up I ain’t dat freaky homie,” he tweeted.
“Y’all b wanting a n-gga to go out sad homie wishing bad on a real n-gga I never seen it work,” Black continued in a follow up tweet. “My heart goes out to all the girls out here getting raped and shit FORREAL, But I Ain’t Did That Shit.”
Again, I have no way of knowing whether Black is telling the truth. Prosecutors obviously declined to try him on the rape charge – but his guilty plea on the assault charge acknowledges at least some culpability in this matter.
Was it enough of an acknowledgment, though? And did the punishment fit the crime? Or … is Black’s case yet another example of a wealthy and famous defendant receiving preferential treatment from weak-kneed judges and prosecutors?
There is no doubt Black is connected. Earlier this year, he received a federal pardon from former U.S. president Donald Trump on an unrelated weapons charge – and Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback (and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner) Lamar Jackson accompanied him to his sentencing hearing last week as a character witness. He was represented by prominent Palmetto State defense attorneys Beattie Ashmore and Robert E. Lee.
That’s some serious star power …
Ultimately, it is not for me to judge what happened in this case. Black – like all of us – will be the recipient of perfect justice for the sum total of both the good and bad he does during the course of his life. In the meantime, however, the circumstances surrounding Black’s guilty plea have raised some serious questions about the prosecutor and the judge who presided over the “justice” dispensed by the state of South Carolina to his victim.
In the aftermath of last week’s plea agreement and sentencing hearing, this news outlet has received some deeply troubling information regarding the manner in which the victim in this case was treated by both the solicitor’s office and the court. If accurate, these allegations would constitute a flagrant violation of the victim’s most basic rights – ensconced in the South Carolina Constitution (Article I, § 24) and subsequent statutes (S.C. Code § 16-3-1505, et. seq). They could also potentially constitute grounds for the commencement of disbarment hearings against Clements – or the commencement of a hearing of the S.C. judicial merit selection commission (SCJMSC) to determine Nettles’ fitness to remain on the bench.
Or both …
To be clear: No one is challenging the legitimacy of the plea agreement itself (although they probably should). Instead, the allegations we are investigating involve the treatment of the victim by the prosecutor and the judge in this case – and the alleged denial of her rights under the law by the very system which is supposed to protect her.
Stay tuned for a follow-up report soon …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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