Here’s Why Suge Knight’s Son Insists His Father’s Civil Rights Are Being Neglected in Jail
Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight is one of the most infamous figures in hip-hop history. When he partnered with the likes of Dr. Dre to launch the record label in 1991, Knight would help solidify rap's footing in the mainstream with his talented roster and aggressive tactics. The result was millions of records sold, which made Death Row one of the most successful movements in rap. But ever since the death of Tupac Shakur, as well as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's departure from the label, things have gone downhill for Knight, with a laundry list of legal and financial troubles plaguing him over much of the past two decades.
Two years ago, Knight hit rock bottom when he was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles, resulting in the accidental death of his friend Terry Carter in 2015. Knight claims he feared for his life after getting involved in an altercation with Cle “Bone” Sloan. He attempted to flee a parking lot where the incident occurred and ran over Carter with his vehicle, killing him, and hit Sloan as well.
After turning himself in to police a day after the incident, Knight would be charged with murder and attempted murder, to which he would plead not guilty. His bail was initially set at $25 million, an amount that caused Knight to collapse in the courtroom. Eventually it was reduced to $10.5 million.
Knight's attempts to make bail over the last two years have been denied, leaving him in custody to await trial. His lawyer claims his client has been treated unfairly during that time. Many critics have counted out the former intimidating mogul, believing he'll spend the rest of his days behind bars, but his 21-year-old son Suge Jacob Knight is not one of them.
On Wednesday (Feb. 22), Jacob, Suge Knight's second-eldest son, made waves with an Instagram post following one of his father's court appearances. He accuses the courts of mistreating his father in a lengthy post. "I havent seen or heard this mans voice in two years! When we will they view him as a human? How come the man who turned himeslef in on a "Hit and Run" case (Which is really a Self Defense Case) gets mistreated more than the Rapist or a serial killer? I know sin is sin but what about mercy?" Jacob wrote.
XXL got Suge Jacob Knight on the phone to find out what sparked his Instagram post, the status of Suge Knight's court case and how he feels about the lack of supporters in his father's corner.
XXL: You posted on Instagram about your father being mistreated by the legal system. What prompted you to do that?
Suge Jacob Knight: I just feel like I needed my voice to be heard. It was just an idea 'cause I know that people follow me for a reason and they would always ask for updates, so this time I actually wanted to update everybody about going to the court. This was my first time going to the court 'cause I've been out the state at school at Fisk University and never been able to.
So I came back and I seen that and I wanted to let everybody know what's actually going down and to see his civil rights are being neglected. That's what it is, his rights aren't being used, he's being used against his rights, 'cause nobody can defend themselves without choosing their own lawyer or anything like that, or being in solitary confinement for two years. That's not right, that's just against his rights. The bail money's not here right now, so I felt the best approach is to broadcast what's going on.
Did you get a chance to speak him?
Nah, only few words with him 'cause nobody can speak to him 'cause they cut all communication with him. The only few words I said to him was "I love you" and "Don't worry" when we was in the courtroom, but that's pretty much it. But even in the courtroom, after we had seen each other and nodded heads, the judge ordered the officer to stand in front of him so they could block the view from me and him. They're going to the extreme with this guy.
How often have you seen your father since his incarceration?
It was the first time overall, 'cause the last time I seen him was a week before the incident [in January of 2015]. He was driving me back from the airport and there's actually a picture on Google. That's the last picture of me and him or anything. That's the last time I heard his voice, seen him, talked to him or anything. And after that, I couldn't talk to him. The only people that can talk to him for communication is his lawyer but that's not the same when you have someone with a note reading you something, you know?
How was Suge being treated during the court hearing?
Laughed at, they weren't taking him seriously. The prosecutor, she obviously didn't have anything or a case on him so it's obvious they're still trying to build something, so she's rushing everything. She'll be like, "Your honor, we don't have time for this." She would cut him off. They don't give him time to speak. They'll just look at him and give him a BS story about why they can't do this or why he can't see his kids or see his family, or be able to choose his lawyer.
They wasted so much time in that court that when he kept hitting 'em with [his] points, they ended the session real quick and were like, "We'll see you next time, Mr. Knight."
Have any rappers or entertainers reached out to you and your family since your father's incarceration?
Unfortunately, man, you would think [yeah], but no. And I think the reason why is they kind of blackmailed this man's name so people don't wanna mess up their payroll. Well, I don't know, I can't speak for it, but no, nobody reached out. I can't explain why people didn't reach out, but that's all I can possibly think of.
How would you describe your relationship with your father?
Just like anybody that loves their father, that's my guy. That's the guy I look up to 'til this day. That's the guy who had his first company on Wilshire Boulevard [in California], that's the guy that donated $250,000 to Bill Clinton's campaign during when he was running against [George W.] Bush. That was my guy, that's the guy I looked up to, that's who I always wanted to be. That's a businessman that I always admired.
See, people don't know that, so that's why they [don't] see why I look at him differently than why you guys look at him differently.
How are your father's spirits considering the situation he's in?
That's a strong man. I don't know anybody that can be in solitary confinement for two years and not go crazy or anything like that. You don't hear anybody, talk to anybody. You see they're just stripping him of all of his civil rights as a man, [and] that guy's still holding his head up, still saying everything's good. Almost dying in the jail three times for the blood clots because they don't ever give 'em a chance to heal.
And who makes that call is the D.A., and the D.A., he was in the courtroom with the prosecutor and he's the one that makes all the moves [and] calls all the shots with. He even ordered the people to take the needles out his arm before the nurse or the doctor. And the doctor had a problem with that and I'm actually working on trying to get them to go and do a statement for me because that right there, that's not right, you know. That could've hurt him and killed him right there. So it's just a lot of questionable things [about] why they're going so hard and have a hit out for this man.
What was the hearing about on Wednesday?
That hearing was really mostly my dad begging to get better communication and better treatment, at least a fair shot or at least get a fair shot. It was about why [Suge] can't communicate with any of [his] family, at least the kids. There's no reason that he'd cause an act of terror. 'Cause they look at him like a terrorist or something. El Chapo escaped jail three times and they give that man better treatment than him [Suge].
What's the current status of your father's case?
Right now, it's still looking good 'cause they don't have him with anything. There's more evidence of it being a self-defense case because of it actually being a hit and run so right now we're just lengthening that before we go to the actual trial.
Do you know when the actual trial will begin?
No, but another court date will be the 27th of March and by that time, I'm working on trying get a couple voices out there, people who wanna support us. A peaceful protest to at least give him his rights 'cause I feel that's at least the best that I can do. If I had the $10 million for a hit and run bail, I would've did it. Even though it's the highest bail in California right now, it's actually $25 million, and it's not making sense why it's really that high. It's still questionable. We gotta figure it out.
When you put up your Instagram post about Suge Knight being mistreated, there were also a lot of negative comments being made. People were accusing your father of being involved in Tupac's murder and writing that he deserves the treatment he's receiving. How do you feel about that?
Honestly, it pisses me off, but I don't let it get to me like that 'cause I know it's not true. You can't let stuff that's not true get to you and at the end of the day, you gotta sit and see these people are really ridiculous. Why would he kill 'Pac if he in the same car with him. That was his best friend, that's the guy who put up $2 million, he bought him out of Interscope [Records], he changed his life.
Why would he do that and also be in the car with him and get shot in the head with him? My dad was really depressed after his death. And then Eazy-E], my dad was nowhere near that guy. And I don't know, everybody just forgot about AIDS. I don't know how that [rumor] came about. And then Big, I don't even know why he'd be responsible for that. And at the same time, I ain't dry-snitching or anything like that, but how y'all gonna say Suge did it and y'all don't say any other artist? Any of those other people y'all praise today, about [murdering] 'Pac, you get me?
Nobody ever said they put a hit out on Suge, it's just "Suge did everything.' My problem is is that since Suge has no voice, you notice that everybody coming out now saying something different, knowing he don't have a voice yet. I don't know, I'm just disappointed in most of 'em.
Is there anyone in particular you feel was disloyal or hasn't been there for your father in his time of need?
Man, I don't really care honestly. I'll let the people decide that one. The only thing I can say is the people he defended in court or put up money for, the millions and all that and was in court with 'em every day and you don't see them here today, it kinda makes you just think, wow. I don't wanna say no names, I don't wanna put people out there, people know who they are. That's not my focus. It's more just focusing on getting Suge out, the positives. 'Cause I don't want no negatives. I don't want no beef with nobody. I don't care for it, it's not my beef, I'm working on my own thing. I'm just trying to get my dad out.
If you could tell the people anything about your father to clear the air or clarify anything, what would it be?
If Suge didn't do anything to you, maybe we can change the perspective. Ask yourself, what has Suge done to you and maybe view him as a human. That's probably all I have to say, just view him as a human.
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