Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of five members of rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine’s private security team for robbing a man after chasing him through Harlem in SUVs with flashing lights and sirens. All five defendants are charged in New York State Supreme Court with Robbery in the First Degree, Robbery in the Second Degree, and Criminal Impersonation in the First Degree. Former NYPD Detective DANIEL LAPERUTA, 44, is additionally charged with Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree for falsely claiming to NYPD officers and in a 911 call that the victim was threatening the defendants with a firearm.
“A celebrity entourage is not a police department, and Manhattan is not the Wild West,” said District Attorney Vance. “As alleged, these highly-compensated vigilantes caravanned through the streets of Harlem with sirens flashing in order to track a man down and steal and break his phone. Along the way, a retired NYPD Detective tried to cover up their conduct by lying to his former colleagues and repeatedly claiming the victim had threatened to shoot them. False reports – especially about firearms – can carry devastating consequences and fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the actual police response.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, on August 9, 2020, a 34-year-old man and his girlfriend saw rapper Daniel Hernandez, a/k/a “Tekashi 6ix9ine,” and several members of his security team while driving in Harlem. When the group saw the victim attempt to record the rapper on his cellphone, they shouted at him and began to chase him as he drove away. The team followed the victim for approximately 20 blocks in three SUVs which were equipped with flashing lights and sirens. When the victim attempted to flag down a marked police car, retired NYPD Detective LAPERUTA flashed a retired NYPD Member of Service card, told the officers that the victim threatened them with a firearm, and rejoined the chase. LAPERUTA called 911 as the team drove after the victim, and repeated the claim that the victim threatened the defendants with a firearm.
The team boxed in the victim’s car with their SUVs at the corner of 125thStreet and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, and forced the victim to pull his car over. SPROUSE approached the victim, opened his car door, unbuckled his seatbelt and pulled the victim’s arm. The victim’s phone was knocked out of his hand to the ground, where FUHSE stomped on it. The victim exited his car and wrestled with EGARDO CORTEZ in an attempt to recover his phone. LAPERUTA approached the group with his hand on his holstered gun and CHRISTIAN CORTEZ pointed a Taser at the victim. When an unmarked police car approached with flashing lights, the team immediately got into their SUVs and fled the scene.
LAPERUTA went to the NYPD’s 28thPrecinct to make a complaint, and claimed again that the victim had threatened them with a firearm. When an NYPD lieutenant confronted LAPERUTA about the improbability of his account, LAPERUTA withdrew his complaint and left the precinct.
Assistant D.A. Jennifer Bilinkas is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Senior Trial Counsel Peter Casolaro, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, Chief of the Trial Division. The D.A.’s Office’s Investigation Bureau, in particular Supervisor Investigator Thomas Lombardo, and Investigative Analyst Darius Santana assisted with the case