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Dr Dre and Ice Cube again deny liability for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ death

By | Published on Tuesday 8 May 2018

Suge Knight

Producers of the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ film were in court again yesterday arguing why they – and Dr Dre and Ice Cube – should not be held liable for the death of Terry Carter in 2015. Carter was killed when one-time hip hop mogul Suge Knight ran him over after an altercation that occurred near the set of the NWA biopic.

Knight is still fighting murder charges in relation to that incident, but in June 2015 Carter’s widow also filed civil proceedings against various people involved in the movie, including former NWA members Dre and Ice Cube.

That litigation noted that the altercation that led to the homicide began on the film set where a commercial for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was being filmed. The lawsuit then alleged that the man her husband was with at the time of his death, Cle Sloan, had been hired by the film’s makers to recruit local gang members to participate in the film shoot, as both extras and security.

Dre and Ice Cube were seemingly at the shoot as well, and it was the former who asked Sloan to remove Knight from the property after he showed up uninvited. It was that removal that subsequently led to the incident outside a burger bar a few miles away in which Carter was killed. The film’s makers, and Dre and Ice Cube, should therefore accept some responsibility for Carter’s death, the 2015 lawsuit concluded.

The following year Dre and Ice Cube successfully had themselves removed as defendants, arguing that they could not have been expected to foresee that their request that Knight be removed from the film set would “create undue risks for anyone, let alone Carter”. The entire lawsuit was then subsequently dismissed.

However, legal reps for Carter’s family are appealing that decision, with Dre and Ice Cube again listed as defendants, alongside the likes of Universal (the movie studio, rather than the record company).

According to Law360, when presenting his case to the appeals court, the Carters’ lawyer focused on the allegation that it was negligent of the film’s producers to involve Sloan in the movie project at all. He was, they said, a “notoriously violent” ex-gang member who had a personal history with Knight. Hiring him, the lawyers argue, created foreseeable danger, of which Carter was a victim.

The lawyer added that the film’s producers should have instead done “what a normal business does, and contact the police or have regular, uniformed security”.

Legal reps for the film’s makers countered that there was simply no evidence that the defendants knew, or could have known, that the meeting between Knight, Sloan and Carter would turn violent. Therefore, they argue, the lower court was right to dismiss the proceedings. It remains to be seen if the appeal judges concur.