With thoughts of injustice flowing through his mind, Papoose erupted in anger in a New York courtroom Tuesday after hearing that his fiancee, Remy Ma, had been sentenced to eight years in prison .
“I got a little bit aggravated. I think anybody would,” Pap, wearing a wedding band on his ring finger, said in New York’s Platinum Studios Wednesday. “To see a female get persecuted like that for something they didn’t do. … Then, on the other hand, you see Sean Bell get murdered by police and they just walk out the courtroom. A crime they admitted they did. Then somebody that’s suspected of a crime goes to jail and gets sentenced to eight years. These police gun a man down and murder him. In the same city a mother gets snatched away from her child. It’s aggravating.”
Remy Ma (born Reminisce Smith) was sentenced after being convicted of shooting her onetime close friend Makeda Barnes-Joseph during a dispute over money . Smith claimed that Barnes-Joseph stole $3,000 from her.
“I never seen a case with more issues, more grounds for appeal than hers,” said Pap, who called Remy’s lawyer, Ivan Fisher, “incompetent.” “Everybody had different stories. Nobody’s stories matched. They all lied on the stand. It’s disgusting. It’s obvious what that case was about.”
Fisher had no comment on Papoose’s statements when reached by MTV News on Thursday (May 15).
There’s no doubt that Barnes-Joseph was shot. Fisher called it an accident. Papoose refused to go into detail about what he believes to be the truth surrounding the shooting, but he did say his fiancee would have a new lawyer during the appeal. He talked to Remy on Wednesday and said the message she has for the people, especially her fans, is “‘Thanks for the support. Black people, go to jury [duty].” Papoose said, “Out of a hundred-and-something jurors while they were doing jury selection, there were only six blacks. … It was an all-white jury. … [But] she’s maintaining. She’s got a strong mind. The case is definitely gonna be appealed. Everything in the dark will come to the light.”
Although Pap talks to Remy regularly, he cannot see her in person any time soon. Over the weekend, the two were to be married on Rikers Island. During his visit, however, there was supposedly some controversy over something on his key chain; reports circulated that Pap tried to sneak Remy a tiny skeleton key that can unlock handcuffs.
“That whole claim and that rumor is ridiculous,” he said. “Ever since she’s been incarcerated, I’ve been going to visit her consistently. I’ve always had my key chain that has the key to my truck, my crib. … Everything that was on my key chain was always there [during my visits]. The [corrections officers have] always seen my key chain.
“This particular time, this one dude. I guess he had a bad day or something,” Pap continued. “One C.O. looked at it like, ‘You can’t bring this in here.’ ”
Pap added that the corrections officer took the small key in question and let Pap go on about his business. Twenty-five minutes later, the Brooklyn MC was called in to speak to the warden.
“It was a small key,” Pap said. “I honestly don’t think the sh– could open handcuffs. [Sneak it to her] on Rikers Island? What are you gonna do with that? For me to give her a handcuff key, that’s ridiculous. They put in the papers [that] I was trying to help her escape and all that. If that was true, I would have been arrested. It was just an excuse for them to do some of the foul things they did.
“Everybody knows if it was a felony, I would have been arrested,” he added.
“I would say that corrections officer had a good day,” said Steve Morello, deputy commissioner of public information for the New York Department of Corrections. “A handcuff key is unquestionably considered contraband in our facilities, and it was without question a formally manufactured Smith & Wesson handcuff key, which is used in some, but not all, of our operations.”
As to why Papoose was not arrested for the violation, Morello said that it was never suggested that what Pap had done was against the law but that bringing such a key is a violation of the jail’s rules. If the rapper had been carrying such a key all the other times he came to see Remy Ma, corrections officials were not aware of it, Morello said.
“I’m not saying he was trying to stage a jailbreak,” Morello said. “I’m just saying he shouldn’t have had that key while attempting to visit our facility and see an inmate. We feel it’s unfortunate. We don’t control weddings that take pace in our jails, but we try to accommodate the legitimate wishes of people in our custody, and they have that right. We worked diligently to make arrangements for the ceremony.”
As a result of the new sanctions imposed on Papoose, though, Morello said Pap would not be able to visit Remy Ma at Rikers for six months, which may be a moot point since she will be transferred to an upstate facility soon.
“People scatter. My heart is pure,” Papoose said of his devotion to Remy. “It’s not in my heart to leave somebody when they’re in a time of need. [Crisis] actually brings me closer to them. I’mma hold her down, keep her mind steady. She’s gonna be alright.”
The couple met a few years ago through Pap’s musical mentor, DJ Kay Slay.
“She’s sincere, she’s got a good heart,” Poose said. “We got a chance to build on a lot of situations. We’ve been through a couple of things, [and] I got a chance to see she had a good heart.”
Papoose just finished a song called “My Girl” where he talks about Remy in one of the verses. “Why I need a handcuff key when I got the key to your heart?” he raps.
“It’s about a daughter, mother and wife,” he said. “It goes out to all the females in our lives that hold us down, keep us strong. They brought us into the world. We gotta return the favor.”
[This story was originally published at 9:22 a.m. ET on 05.15.2008]