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Squeegee kid facing murder charge allegedly affiliated with Crips, defense denies

WBFF Baltimore 11/29/2022 Mikenzie Frost |
Squeegee kid facing murder charge allegedly affiliated with Crips, defense denies

During a juvenile transfer hearing, Judge Charles Dorsey heard evidence that suggested a teenage defendant accused of first-degree murder in connection to Timothy Reynolds’ death may be affiliated with the Crips, according to multiple sources who were in the hearing.

Judge Dorsey ruled on Nov. 17 that 15-year-old Tavon Scott will be tried as an adult after defense attorneys attempted to make the claim that the defendant should be transferred to the juvenile justice system due to his age. Reynolds died after he was shot on July 7, 2022, at the intersection of Light and Conway Streets. Court documents indicate Reynolds was pronounced dead at Shock Trauma just after 5 p.m. on July 7, 2022.

The juvenile transfer hearing was closed to the public and media; multiple sheriff’s deputies stood outside the doors to the hearing – which was held inside the Juvenile Justice Center – and did not let anyone who wasn’t on a pre-approved list inside.

Inside the courtroom, multiple sources said the defendant was identified as a likely member of the Crips, utilizing photos showing the suspect using known-gang signs, Crips-specific coloring in some photos, and another photo showing the gun itself and black and blue backpack police said the gun was found in with a blue bandana.

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Kinji Scott, a community activist who stood with the defense team after the hearing, wrote on social media moments after the judge denied the transfer request about what was said inside the hearing.

“After offering a plea the Baltimore State’s Attorney Office argued against sending Tavon Scott back to juvenile court. They tried to point out that he was a Crip,” Scott wrote on Facebook.

J. Wyndal Gordan, one of the defendant’s defense attorneys, commented on Scott’s Facebook post and wrote: “Very sad. You have a photographic memory, I see [because] everything you said was accurate, and your opinion is right.”

In addition to sources, FOX45 News spoke with who were inside the hearing, the defendant’s other attorney, Warren Brown, described the photos showing alleged gang affiliation that were discussed during the hearing.

He said there were some images that showed washed-out coloring, except for a blue color, except Brown called it more of a teal color.

“Anything that was close to blue was mentioned. That was the first time I had heard of any Crip affiliation or alleged Crip affiliation,” Brown said, adding his client has never confirmed he is affiliated with the Crips.

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Another photo was discussed during the hearing that showed what has been interpreted as a hand sign affiliated with the gang; again, Brown dismissed that notion, saying the double-C reference was really just a heart his client was making with his hands. The photo was taken while the suspect has been in custody.

“Their inference was that he must a member of the Crips because he had the blue here and there and he was making the C – [for] Crips – but really it was a heart,” Brown said.

When asked to confirm the Crips affiliation, a spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department said because the referenced defendant “is currently on trial.” BPD referred FOX45 News to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office “or the Courts.” A spokesperson for City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby did not respond to questions via email about the case.

According to court records reviewed by FOX45 News, during a bail hearing, the state called the suspect “an extreme threat to public safety.” Brown said the state says that “in many, many instances to achieve their goal which is to keep a person locked up.”

“I think it was just the nature of the offense – you charged with murder they are going to say you are a danger to the public,” Brown said.

The Reynolds family has remained mostly quiet about the issue, until the days leading up to the juvenile transfer hearing. That’s when Becky Reynolds, sister of Tim, and Shannon Reynolds, widow, spoke to the public about who their family member was and their opposition to what was being described as a plea deal.

However, the conversation surrounding a plea deal that would have required the defendant plead guilty to a manslaughter charge and in return, be remanded to the juvenile court system, fell apart as the transfer hearing began.

Thiru Vignarajah, an attorney representing the Reynolds family as the criminal case plays out, issued a statement to FOX45 News following questions about the defendant’s possible Crips affiliation. Vignarajah said “as more of the truth comes out about this crime and this defendant, the clearer it becomes why we are fighting so hard for justice.”

“The public is finally hearing and seeing the real facts, videos and photos that convinced the judge and grand jury that this was first-degree murder,” Vignarajah said. “Being a gang member doesn’t automatically make you guilty – but it does mean you can’t pretend you’re an innocent child making hearts for the camera.”

The transcript of the Nov. 17 hearing is sealed, according to the court reporter’s office at Baltimore City’s Circuit Court. The sealing of the transcript underscores how tightly kept the information has been by some in the judicial system surrounding this case.

The hearing itself was closed to the public and as the hearing was underway, sheriff’s deputies later escorted members of the press and the public away from the door and to a lobby area that was located on the third floor. However, the director of security later forced the media away from the lobby, and instead congregate on the main floor – away from the hearing itself. Not long after the second move, Sheriff’s Capt. Jae Kim forced the members of the media out of the building entirely.

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Reynolds’ death sparked heightened tensions among city leaders, squeegee kids and motorists and Mayor Brandon Scott launched a squeegee collaborative that met for months until it produced a multi-pronged approach filled with nearly 20 recommendations.

Baltimore Police said while Reynolds parked his car and crossed several lanes of traffic to approach the group of squeegee kids with a bat, the suspect grabbed a backpack that had a Polymer80 9mm that was loaded. According to still images from CCTV included in court documents, Scott pulled a mask over his face and ran to where Reynolds was standing.

According to the City State’s Attorney’s Office, that’s when Scott fired multiple shots at Reynolds, hitting him at least five times.

The day before the juvenile transfer hearing, City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby pulled the original prosecutor in the case, Rita Wisthoff-Ito, from the case after allegedly leaking the CCTV photos that were including in a court filing. Vignarajah has argued Wisthoff-Ito had a legal obligation to share the information with him since he is serving as the attorney for the victim. Wisthoff-Ito has worked in the state’s attorney’s office for a decade and has since had all her other homicide cases taken away.

Attorney Michael Dunty, the homicide division chief within the state’s attorney’s office, handled the case for the juvenile transfer hearing, but told Judge Melissa Phinn during a Nov. 21 hearing that the case will likely be reassigned to another prosecutor. Judge Phinn scheduled another hearing for Dec. 20, giving the parties time to sort out the details.

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