A man who was injured during the fatal shooting of Nipsey Hussle has been arrested for allegedly violating his parole, the Los Angeles Police Department told HuffPost. Civil rights activists and his lawyer are calling for his release.
LA resident Kerry Lathan, 56, was apprehended last week and is being held without bail in the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, according to online records. In an interview with Vlad TV, Lathan said he was looking for a new shirt at Marathon Clothing on March 31 when the shooting occurred. He saw Hussle, the store’s owner, outside and approached him with a question about the merchandise just before shots were fired.
Individuals on parole are usually barred from maintaining contact with known gang members or people who were convicted of felonies. Hussle had spoken openly in the past about his affiliation with a Crips-connected gang called the Rollin’ 60s, but he was no longer a gang member and had become a community activist.
Luis Patiño, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, declined to give details on Lathan’s case, citing an ongoing investigation. Patiño referred HuffPost to LAPD Detective Nathan Kouri, who also declined to provide any information, saying that Patiño’s is the only department that can explain why Lathan was arrested.
Attorney Lauren Noriega, who said she represents Lathan, said he faces “a potential parole violation simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time,” describing him as “a model inmate and a model parolee.” Lathan was convicted of murder in 1994 and served about 25 years in prison.
“Much like Nipsey Hussle, Mr. Lathan was a reformed gang member who was determined to make a change in his community,” she told HuffPost. “Unfortunately, Mr. Lathan is facing a potential parole violation because his arrest was made without complete knowledge of the underlying facts. We are zealously pushing for a prompt parole hearing in order to demonstrate that this arrest is not proper.”
Lathan was hospitalized with a gunshot wound after being shot alongside Hussle outside the rapper’s Marathon Clothing store in South Los Angeles. In a recent interview with AllHipHop, Lathan said he didn’t know Hussle well.
Noriega said the meeting of the two was not planned.
“[Lathan] had stopped by the Marathon store to pick up a new white shirt,” she said. “He was en route with his nephew to visit a friend who had recently lost his father. He was going to pay his condolences. He had no idea that Nipsey would be at the Marathon Store. Nipsey had previously given clothing for Lathan to Lathan’s sister ― who knew Nipsey.”
Najee Ali, a community activist and CEO of Project Islamic Hope, told HuffPost that Lathan was “locked up [for] associating with Hussle.”
“This is outrageous and a slap in the face to Nipsey Hussle’s family,” Ali said, calling him “an icon” and accusing city officials of attempting to smear Hussle. “He was a hero in our community, successful entrepreneur and businessperson.”
Ali added that his organization is demanding that California Gov. Gavin Newsom call for “the immediate release of Lathan, who was trying to get the help he needed” to reintegrate into society after serving his sentence.
The governor’s office did not comment on the call for Lathan’s release and directed HuffPost to the state’s corrections department instead.
Ali said his group was planning a protest outside the governor’s downtown Los Angeles office at 11 a.m. PDT Wednesday.
Noriega said Lathan is awaiting a parole hearing; no date has been set.