, - By Bossip Staff
Afrika Owes was sobbing but she was still not snitching. Had the 17-year-old been snitching, had the prosecutor been able to say that this young woman was remorseful and fully cooperating with the investigation, then Friday’s bail hearing almost certainly would have ended differently. The judge would very likely have approved the esteemed Rev. Calvin Butts’ offer to post $50,000 of his church’s funds as her bail.
And Owes would then have been able to go home rather than back to Rikers Island pending a bail hearing that is an interminable two weeks away. Maybe she is not snitching out of fear; several members of the 137th St. Crew are still at large.
Maybe she is keeping silent out of some misguided street ethic against snitching that is reinforced by rap songs and videos. Most likely she is not cooperating out of misplaced loyalty to her boyfriend, Jaquan Layne, aka “Jay Cash” or simply “Jay.” He is the lead name in the indictment and is said to be head of the crew. Owes could not snitch without snitching on Jay, and she seems to feel a too-blind allegiance to him. Such devotion is not rare among teenage girls who have yet to learn the stupendously selfish ways of males.
The crimes with which Owes is charged were essentially errands for Layne. She was doing the bidding of the crew’s leader the way a girl in other circumstances might for the captain of the high school football team. She carried his 9-mm. for him when she just was 16, complaining at one recorded moment that it is “too heavy,” but in the way of a teen not worrying that she was putting her immediate freedom and ultimate future in jeopardy.
Also in the way of a teen, she failed to consider that Layne would never put her in that position if he had any real regard for her. Layne even presses her to change her college goals to fit his plan to move his drug operation to Pennsylvania, where the competition is not so fierce. Owes initially objects, telling him she hopes to attend either Columbia or NYU. She then gives in, saying she supposes she could always apply to Penn.
After all, if she went to college in New York, how could she carry his gun and deliver messages for him in Pennsylvania? Even now, when it appears that she may be matriculating in prison, Owes remains dismayingly loyal. On its part, the District Attorney’s Office cannot cut Owes a break just because she is female or because she is uncommonly bright or because she briefly attended a prestigious prep school.
A stray bullet from a gun can kill a youngster just as dead, whoever carries it around. If Owes were a male with lower test scores charged with carrying a gun and furthering a drug operation, you can be sure that Rep. Charlie Rangel would not have been in court to show his support. Rangel could not get her sprung. Nor could Butts.
But Layne could. He could use the same persuasive charms that got her into jail to get her out. He need only convince her to cooperate. On his part, Layne would be taking a new direction by doing something decent. He does not seem to be much of a drug kingpin. Even his moniker “Jay Cash” smacks of a wanna-be more than a true gangsta.
My guess is he wanted to go to Pennsylvania because he could not make it in New York, even in crime. Owes could still make it here in myriad legitimate ways, and Layne ought to give her a chance. Snitching isn’t really snitching if the person you are snitching on tells you to do it.
Young girls need better guidance these days. How in the hell is this girl sitting in Rikers, and she wants to apply to Columbia?? She better start snitching pronto and get her a$s out of there. SMH.
: Saint Jake