Bruce Pollard mumbled and turned his face away from the prosecutor quizzing him Tuesday about the man accused of shooting at him and killing his cousin during a Central City gang feud.
Pollard, who wore an orange prison jumpsuit because of his own gun conviction, said he didn’t understand why he was testifying at the second-degree murder trial of alleged shooter Dwight Washington.
“You disrespecting me by dragging me in here,” Pollard said. “I don’t know that guy. I don’t know nothing about what you’re talking about.”
Pollard may have given prosecutors everything they wanted during his brief stint on the stand, however. Combative as he was, he acknowledged calling out Washington’s nickname in a bellicose rap song months before the fatal shooting of Darrell “Micey” Pollard and Terran “Baby Trilla” Young.
Prosecutors opened their case against Washington, 25, in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras’ courtroom on Tuesday. Washington is accused of mortally wounding Young, 19, and Darrell Pollard, 28, at South Carrollton Avenue and Earhart Boulevard late on June 15, 2017.
New Orleans prosecutors allege the rap feud between Pollard and Washington echoed the real-life war between their respective street gangs: the Byrd Gang hailing from the former Magnolia housing development, and the Ghost Gang from the former Calliope development.
However, Washington’s defense attorney told the jury the rap songs were just songs, and the prosecution was trying to send his client to prison for life without a single eyewitness.
When police responded to the scene of the shooting in the middle of a busy stretch of Carrollton Avenue, they found guns, shards of glass and a pool of blood. Young’s body had tumbled out of a car onto the roadway.
Soon afterward, cops found Darrell Pollard’s body in the back of a car in the 200 block of North Johnson Street near University Medical Center.
The connection between the scenes wasn’t clear until Homicide Detective Leonard Bendy determined the men had been shot together at the Uptown intersection.
Surveillance video showed the men were shot from a carjacked gold sedan, Bendy said. The detective traced the sedan’s movements after the shooting to the former Calliope housing development.
Cellphone location data revealed that Washington’s phone moved along with the gold sedan, Assistant District Attorney Alex Calenda said. He said the last video surveillance of the gold sedan pulling into the Calliope area showed a man who dressed like Washington hop out of the vehicle with the same, distinctive assault-style rifle used in the shooting.
As his investigation proceeded, Bendy collected songs and social media data. He also created a timeline of incidents between the Calliope and Byrd gangs.
In August 2016, Washington and Bruce Pollard traded insults in songs and an audio clip on the website Soundcloud, according to Bendy.
Pollard used the name Stackkz in his songs. On the stand, Pollard admitted to spitting out Washington’s nickname, GB White, on one verse but downplayed its significance. He also took exception when Calenda asked him the meaning of a “diss” song.
“Rapping is entertainment,” Pollard said.
Bendy brought up two other shootings he said were related to the feud.
On Sept. 3, 2016, Javon “King Tokyo” Johnigan was shot to death. Bendy said Johnigan was a rapper affiliated with the Calliope Ghost Gang — and he suspected the killers were with the Byrd Gang.
On Jan. 31, 2017, Wynston Jackson and Lawrence Williams IV were shot on the street outside a basketball game at Edna Karr High School in Algiers. Bendy said Jackson was a Ghost Gang affiliate known as “Baby Ghost.”
The double homicide on the West Bank further inflamed the gang war, according to police. To underline the significance of the Jan. 31 incident, Calenda asked Washington, the alleged Ghost Gang affiliate, to stand and show jurors the tattoo next to his right ear.
One juror craned closer for a view of the tattooed scrawl, which read “1/31/17.”