Rapper and musician Mckinley "Mac" Phipps, Jr. was blessed with the opportunity to travel the world before age twenty while signed with Master P's No Limit Records label. His debut album, "Shellshocked", even achieved Gold status in the year 1999. The following year, however, would change Mac's life forever.
Following the release of his sophomore album, "World Warr III", Mac began to do some self promotion through the management company Camouflage Entertainment, organized by his mother, Sheila Phipps.
On the night of February 21, 2000, platinum rap artist, McKinley "Mac" Phipps Jr. was set to headline a show at a small nightclub located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. A fight involving club patrons and members of Phipps' entourage broke out before the young star ever hit the stage. Gunshots rang out amidst the chaos and confusion; ultimately silencing one young life, dramatically changing the course of another and permanently etching their effects into the hearts and minds of everyone there that night.
Phipps was arrested just hours after 19 year old Barron Victor Jr passed away from internal bleeding caused by a single gunshot wound to the upper arm. Investigators claimed that witnesses had stated they seen the No Limit artist with a gun. Despite the fact that there was no forensic evidence tying Phipps to the crime and a confession from his security guard, Thomas Williams, they were convinced that they had their man or as the police stated, "We got who we wanted."
The following year, St. Tammany Parish prosecutors, under the direction of D.A. Walter Reed, who's now facing charges for corruption and fraud, convicted Phipps of manslaughter after a trial based on a jumble of circumstantial evidence and wild conjecture, held together with perjured testimony. On September 21, 2001, McKinley Phipps Jr., who had no prior record, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing a young man he never met.
Phipps' story is one that encompasses the numerous iniquities within the U.S. criminal justice system that is in dire need of reform; official misconduct, use of informants, eyewitness misidentification, excessive sentencing, wrongful conviction, etc. His story is, in essence, the story of every American unjustly entangled within the web of the very system that was meant to protect their rights.