MIAMI – Elton Bandoo appeared in Miami-Dade County court Tuesday. He is claiming that when he fired his weapon Friday he thought he was shooting at a burglar threatening him and his mom -- and not at a police officer.
Defense attorney Seth Lawrence LaVey, of North Miami, represented him during a brief hearing in front of Judge Jason Bloch. A group of about two dozen friends and family were in the courthouse to support him.
Bandoo -- better known as gold-chain-wearing gangsta rapper "EB Da Iceman" -- claims it was all a misunderstanding, according to the police report. It was about 6:20 a.m. It was dark out. North Miami Beach and Aventura SWAT teams surrounded his home, 16033 NE 8th Ave.
Bandoo said he woke up to his mother screaming: "I think we are getting robbed. I think we are getting robbed." He was on defense mode when he rushed to get his .38 caliber firearm, he said. He also heard a loud bang and glass breaking, he said. And he fired several shots at someone he saw climbing the fence, he said.
Police said they used "distraction devices" and did not specify the type. There is no way Bandoo, 26, could have gotten confused, police said.
The officers -- who were assisting federal agents on an unemployment fraud investigation -- said they were wearing recognizable green tactical uniforms that were marked with "POLICE." Also an officer knocked three or four times, police said. And a "loud and clear" announcement followed, police said.
"North Miami Beach Police Department, search warrant, search warrant."
Bandoo said he didn't hear the warning.
"Mr. Bandoo is the victim in this case ... this is a good kid. This is a kid who didn't even have a detention in high school," LaVey told Local 10 News reporter Michael Seiden, adding that his client was being treated unfairly.
But Bandoo's reputation could hurt his credibility.
The North Miami Senior High graduate doesn't have a criminal record, but for years has used social media to personify the all-around dangerous image associated with a "thug" or a "hustler." He has 95.7K followers on Twitter. And he regularly splashes his photos and videos of guns he refers to as "toys," plentiful marijuana, strippers and models with large behinds and a collection of expensive sneakers to his 15.4K followers on Instagram.
Bandoo is the president of Major Currency Entertainment and the member of a group called "NMB Stunnaz." In a picture he posted on his public Instagram account, he is holding a stack of $20 bills.
"I remember the days when I only had quarters ... The come up is real," the photo's caption said. "But now ima use half of this money I gain to buy some more NMB Stunnaz shirts for the hood, ladies and the kids."
The lyrics and style of Bandoo's music with "NMB Stunnaz" focuses on hip-hop gangsterism themes of rivalry, drug use and the objectification of women.
A YouTube video of a "Clap Them Thighs" contest featuring women acting like adult dancers got 2.5 million hits. The song caught on fast in 2009. A version of the "NMB Stunnaz's Clap Them Thighs" song got 913K views on YouTube. Girls in Miami were imitating the dance style. And dozens of videos of little girls dancing to the beat popped up on YouTube.
After Friday, the gangsta rapper gained an intimidating stature in the inner-city streets of Miami, where the decline and danger make it difficult to relate to Drake and Macklemore. Former gang member Reginald Killings, who was gunned down Sunday in Little Haiti, posted on Facebook Saturday: "NMB Stunnaz ain't playing. They got that lawyer fee." It was Killings' last public photo post on Facebook.
In music videos for an obscenity-laced song titled "Pull Out The Stick," Bandoo waved around a variety of weapons. His rap includes the profligate use of the N-word. And it glorifies the flashy ultra-violent lifestyle in the "hood."
When bullets coming from inside Bandoo's house struck veteran police officer Lido Diaz, the rapper shot to kill, police said. A bulletproof vest saved Diaz's life, police said. The SWAT team member, with nearly two decades of experience in law enforcement, has a 7-year-old daughter.
Diaz, 47, suffered wounds to the arm and leg. He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he had surgery Monday to place a plate into his arm. He is expected to walk out of JMH on Tuesday afternoon, but will undergo physical therapy for several months.
For shooting at Diaz, Bandoo was at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center being held without bond. He is being charged with attempted first degree murder on a law enforcement officer. LaVey said he plans to plea not guilty.
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