Pop Smoke was tussling with some legal issues prior to his death. According to the New York Post, the NYPD appeared to be using these pending charges to try to get Pop to roll over Crip gang members.
A source tells the Post that police first tried to get Pop Smoke to snitch when he was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly possessing a stolen Rolls Royce Wraith. The police questioned him about a non-fatal shooting that took place in Brooklyn in June 2019. Authorities felt as though he had information on the situation because they claimed to have footage of him driving a car in reverse near the scene of the crime.
Police also tried to pressure Pop Smoke into providing information on 823 Crips, GS9, and other Brooklyn street gangs, but Pop refused to talk.
"Any conversation with Pop about cooperation was a very short one," the rapper's lawyer Peter Frankel said. "It’s something he would never entertain doing."
Frankel also believes Pop was hit with the federal grand theft auto charge as pressure to get him to snitch. In fact, sources tell the New York Times that the feds getting involved in a car theft case is something that is "rarely seen in a federal indictment."
"They hoped the force of the federal indictment would persuade him to cooperate — meet and speak with them," he continued. "It’s not uncommon for the federal government to become involved in an investigation when they believe that doing so will help them in a way a state court prosecution may not be able to do"
Once again, the NYPD unsuccessfully tried to get Pop Smoke to snitch when they picked him for this same grand theft auto charge in January. While he was in custody, the police pressured him about his connection to the 823 Crips again as well as more non-fatal shootings. He refused to cooperate, posted a $250,000 bond, agreed to stay away from known gang members and submit drug tests to US pretrial services as part of his conditions.
These conditions hindered some of his performances like the "BK Drip Concert" at Kings Theatre in Flatbush in February. Per the informational memo in his federal case, a field intelligence agent was notified that members of the "8 Trey Cowboy Crip, 90’s G-Stone Crip, Slattery Boys, and Vice Lords" would be in attendance.
"Furthermore, these artists have been identified by the NYPD as perpetrators with violent criminal histories, with the defendant and one of the other artists remaining persons of interest in a non-fatal shooting that took place in Queens on Jan. 4," the memo reads.
Pop Smoke agreed to cancel the concert but he and his lawyer maintained his innocence.