POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The case surrounding rapper Kevin Gates unfolded before a jury in a Polk County courtroom Wednesday. A jury of six women convicted the rapper after a day of testimony, finding him guilty of battery after he was seen kicking a female fan during a concert in Lakeland in a video that went viral. The trial lasted one day.
The judge sentenced Gates to 180 days in the Polk County Jail, with credit for any time served, and fines and court costs.
In a previous hearing Gates attempted to have the charges dropped using the Stand Your Ground defense. He admitted he kicked a female fan after she reached out and grabbed his pants several times at Rumor’s Nite Club in Lakeland.Lakeland Police charged Gates with simple battery in September 2015.
In a previous court hearing Gates testified, “I kicked them, I wanted them off me,” he said, adding that after the girl grabbed him so many times, he kicked her in self-defense.
During the trial Joe Hailey, head of security at Rumors Nightclub, testified. He said there were around 20 security guards working the night of the concert. He said the rapper’s security team inspected the club before the concert and did not make any special requests for additional security, or a barricade between the stage and the crowd. He also said there was room on the stage for Gates to back up if he did not want to be touched.
The girl’s mom, Kristy Irelan, spoke to News Channel 8 shortly after the incident. She said her 18-year-old daughter, Miranda Dixon, admitted herself to the hospital and had to undergo a CT scan after she was kicked.
“She told me that she was excited to see him and next thing she knows she was kicked in the chest and she was passed out,” Irelan told News Channel 8.
Dixon admitted to tugging on his pants during the concert saying, “I was trying to get his attention for my friend.”
During the trial Dixon’s friend Termeral Redding testified. She was with Dixon at the concert that night.
Redding admitted she told Dixon to grab Gates to get his attention “because he is a famous rapper.” Redding said the entire front row was grabbing at Gates. She also testified that when Dixon grabbed the rapper the first time, he kept performing. She said the second time Dixon grabbed him, he “ran and kicked her with force, and her friend fell back into her.” At that point she said she went to get help for her friend.
Well-known defense attorney Jose Baez cross-examined Redding about how serious Dixon was hurt. He broguht up that after Dixon left the club, Redding stayed for the remainder of the show. “You continued to videotape the concert after your friend left,” Baez said.
Thousands of people signed a petition aimed at banning Gates from Florida venues.