BOSTON (AP) — A former Boston high school dean in prison for shooting a student he recruited to deal drugs pleaded not guilty Monday to allegations that he worked with fellow gang members from behind bars to try to identify a police informant in his case.
Shaun Harrison, who was known by students at The English High School as “Rev,” was among more than 60 Latin Kings members charged in December with racketeering, drug and gun crimes.
Harrison lived a double life, painting himself as an anti-violence activist and mentor for troubled teens while hiding his own gang ties and luring students into drugs and violence, authorities have alleged.
He was convicted in 2018 of shooting a 17-year-old student in the back of the head after a dispute over slumping drug sales. The bullet broke the teen's jawbone and just missed his carotid artery, and he survived.
Harrison, who insisted he's innocent, is appealing that conviction.
Harrison wore a grey prison jumpsuit during a brief appearance in Boston federal court on Monday. He didn't speak other than to enter his not guilty plea and answer questions about his background from the judge.
His attorney, Joshua Levy, declined to comment after the hearing.
Federal prosecutors, who have charged Harrison with racketeering conspiracy, say he was intent on finding out the identity of a confidential informant in his case so the gang could retaliate against the informant.
In prison phone calls last summer, Harrison told another gang member he would write to him with the name of the person he believed to be the informant because he was worried to speak the informant's name over the phone, according to court documents.
“I'll let you know his name but I don't want to say anything on the phone,” Harrison said.
While Harrison's nickname “Rev” was emblazoned on his office door at school, his arm was inked with Latin Kings tattoos and his apartment featured a Latin Kings mural on the wall, prosecutors said in court documents.
Harrison, meanwhile, has denied being a gangster and drug dealer.
“I am not a gang member. I'm the Rev,” he told WHDH-TV in 2016. “I never lived a double life. I never, never, sold drugs."
Others charged in the massive Latin Kings investigation — dubbed “Operation Throne Down” — include Michael Cecchetelli, a 40-year-old Springfield, Massachusetts, resident with ties to the Genovese crime family who oversaw the gang’s operations from Massachusetts down to Florida.