Wisconsin man seeks freedom in Gangster Disciples case

AP News
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Posted: May 26, 2016 2:05 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — A lawyer for a man named in a nationwide probe of Gangster Disciples gang members tried to get him released to await trial at his home in Madison, Wisconsin, where he contributes to the arts and music scenes. But a federal magistrate declined, citing the allegation that he was involved in a carjacking in Georgia.

LaDerris Dickerson is a co-founder of "The Hops Museum" in Madison, which includes exhibits on brewing and creative space for artists and entrepreneurs. He also began his own company to manage musicians, his lawyer David Marshall said.

"LaDerris has been fantastic in a number of ways," said Erin McWalter, who worked with Dickerson to get the one-year-old museum up and running. "He gets along with everyone. He's very charismatic and responsible."

But Dickerson's carjacking allegation is part of a pair of indictments unsealed this month in federal courts in Atlanta and Memphis, Tennessee, that name 48 defendants arrested in nine states — Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wisconsin — on charges that also include murder, drug trafficking and robbery.

The Gangster Disciples grew out of Chicago in the 1970s and have broadened their reach in recent years, with some top leaders now living in other cities. In 2014, one of the gang's "governors" outlined plans to expand into Utah and Kansas as well as cities along the east coast, an indictment says.

Grisly details are alleged in these court records, such as a 2011 murder when prosecutors say some gang members shot someone in a drug deal, dumped his body and burned a car. Others are accused of shooting up nightclubs, attacking members of rival gangs such as the Bloods, and arranging homicides by ordering a K.O.S. — "Kill On Sight," they say.

Dickerson is accused of involvement in a March 2014 carjacking in Georgia, but his indictment doesn't provide details of the crime.

Dickerson denies the allegation, Marshall said in an interview on Wednesday. The indictment identifies most of the 48 defendants as Gangster Disciples leaders or members, but it does not describe Dickerson as a gang member. And while many of the defendants remain in custody, at least one has been allowed to await trial in home confinement in Cochran, Georgia, court records show.