Young Buck is bucking the law.
Three days after a warrant was issued for his arrest (see “Warrant Issued For Young Buck In Vibe Awards Stabbing” ), the G-Unit rapper has yet to turn himself in, a move experts believe could come back to haunt him.
However, Buck’s attorney, Scott Leemon, issued a statement Thursday saying that his client would “surrender in the near future and then be released on bail.”
A publicist for Young Buck, whose real name is David Darnell Brown, had not returned calls at press time. A spokesperson for the Santa Monica Police Department said detectives talked with Leemon and asked him to encourage his client to turn himself in.
David Scharf, a New York attorney whose clients include Donald Trump, suggested Buck might be taking time to orchestrate a smooth surrender so he can be booked and released the same day. “The goal is to avoid spending time behind bars,” he said. “If he came in next Wednesday, for example, it could be Monday before he’s processed.”
“I’ve dealt with clients who, as we say around the office, ’fugitated,’ and it’s way worse when the long arm of the law comes and puts it hand around your neck,” Jon Rosenthal, a Florida attorney whose clients include Juvenile, said Thursday. “It can be useful as a defense lawyer to have your client surrender. It can be easier to get an agreement to a reasonable bond. And it puts the client in a different light if the court views him some day.”
Police believe Buck stabbed 26-year-old Los Angeles native Jimmy James Johnson after Johnson assaulted Dr. Dre at the Vibe Awards on Monday in Santa Monica (see “Dr. Dre Attacked, Man Stabbed During Melee At Vibe Awards” ).
The SMPD has contacted detectives in Nashville, where Buck is from, but a spokesperson for the Nashville Metro Police Department said the call was about Buck’s record, not about searching for him. The spokesperson also said Buck is no longer a resident there.
Buck’s criminal record in Nashville consists of seven arrests, including domestic-assault accusations from a girlfriend, who showed physical signs of injury, according to an affidavit, but did not wish to prosecute. Buck pleaded guilty to two counts of possession or casual exchange of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors, while arrests for reckless driving and driver’s-license violations were dismissed.
Buck faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon in Santa Monica. Both Rosenthal and Scharf said the fact that the rapper was defending Dre would likely not help his case.
“Defense of another is not an acceptable legal defense,” Scharf said.
“And, generally, you can’t use deadly force unless you’re repelling deadly force,” Rosenthal added. “Generally, you’re only allowed in self-defense or defense of another to use the amount of force necessary.”
As for the ongoing investigation of the incident, the SMPD spokesperson said detectives are still trying to identify two other men seen with knives in a videotape of the melee. Police want to interview Dr. Dre, but he has not responded to requests.
Longtime Dre rival Suge Knight has denied any connection to Johnson, although many are wondering why Vibe invited Knight in the first place, since Dre was scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award.
“He is Petey Pablo’s manager, and Petey was invited to the show,” Vibe President Kenard Gibbs explained. “We are aware that there are certain people in this business that have animosity towards others, but we had 50 Cent and G-Unit in the same room as Murder Inc. and there were no problems. We tried to the best of our abilities to defuse any situations. It’s unfortunate that this still happened. At the same time, we are not quick to link Suge to the young man who attacked Dre in any way. We are leaving it up to the police to make any connections.”
Gibbs called the incident a “black eye on urban music and culture.” “This event has cast a dark shadow on the achievement and accomplishments of the culture, and it’s something we should all be concerned with,” he said. “The fact that we, at Vibe, are able to provide this platform to showcase our artists and our music is important. To have that platform weakened by a small amount of small-minded people is something that we should all be concerned with.”
Buck, whose debut solo album, Straight Outta Ca$hville, debuted at #3 on the Billboard albums chart in August, was scheduled to perform in Nashville on Friday, according to the Tennessean, although the venue was not advertising the show as of Thursday.
[This story was updated at 10:45 a.m. ET on 11.19.2004]