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'Gang expert' testifies at Windsor murder trial


A detective who focuses on street gangs in the Toronto area took the stand as an expert Tuesday in a Windsor murder trial regarding the 2018 shooting death of a 20-year-old University of Windsor student.

Det. Const. Derek Sullivan was called to the stand by the Crown as a “street gang expert.”

This was his first trial testifying as an expert, but his qualifications were acknowledged by the court and Superior Court Justice Pamela Hebner to evaluate changing trends for street gangs including the use of hand signs, clothing, jewellery, graffiti, turf rivalries and gang migration.

The case revolves around the downtown Windsor shooting death of Jason Pantlitz-Solomon on Aug. 27, 2018.

Sullivan detailed the use of hand gestures, jewellery and lingo used in online videos by the murder victim’s twin brother as well as the man accused in the murder, Kahli Johnson-Phillips.

Sullivan was shown a series of rap videos posted to YouTube, produced by alleged members of the “Young Cash Getters,” which Sullivan said are affiliated with the Mississauga-based “Acorn Crips Gang” also known as the “All Cash Getters.”

The main rapper in a few of the videos was Jerome Pantlitz-Solomon, who goes by the name ‘J Solo.’

Jerome is the twin brother of Jason Pantlitz-Solomon, who the jury recently heard was shot 12 times on Ouellette Avenue.

Sullivan identified a number of hand signs used in the videos, which were made before the downtown Windsor shooting, as what he calls “non-verbal communication” which is used by gang members to show respect to a group you’re in or disrespect to a rival group.

“When you disrespect a rival, there is a real-life consequence to that and it’s usually associated to violence,” Sullivan testified.

Sullivan also looked at the jewellery worn by Jerome Pantlitz-Solomon during the videos, saying, “J Solo was wearing a gold pendant with the letter YCG, which I believe stands for Young Cash Getters.”

The Crown then turned to pictures and videos from a phone seized outside the Nissan Altima when the vehicle was stopped by Peel Police on Aug. 28th, 2018, the day after the shooting in Windsor.

Police extracted images and videos from the phone, including images of Kahli Johnson-Phillips wearing a gold pendant with the words “SMG KMAC GANG.”

Sullivan also detailed multiple images and videos of Johnson-Phillips holding what appeared to be firearms, saying the words “KMAC gang” and making hand gestures that Sullivan characterized as disrespectful to another gang — although he couldn’t specify which one.

Sullivan ended his testimony Tuesday saying he’s of the opinion there is the existence of a street gang that calls themselves KMAC.

“Within a gang conflict, it’s usually more than just hand signs being used. It’s language, disrespecting words,” Sullivan said. “That level of violence goes from assaults, to more serious assaults, to shootings to even homicides.”

The crown will resume questioning Sullivan Wednesday. 

Jason Solomon appeared in a student feature in the University of Windsor publication The Lance in 2017.(Courtesy Selina McCallum for The Lance) Top Stories

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