A pet project backed by some of the most liberal celebrities in Hollywood nearly cost a Las Vegas man his life, a new lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit stems from a horrific shooting a year ago. On December 20, 2021, Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, 24, walked into the ShangHai Taste, just a few miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, and opened fire. Chengyan Wang, a waiter at the establishment, was alone at the time and sustained anywhere from seven to 11 gunshot wounds. Gaston-Anderson eventually pled guilty to attempted robbery with a deadly weapon and mayhem with the use of a deadly weapon in connection to the shooting and has been sentenced to serve seven to 18 years in prison.
Despite life-threatening injuries, Wang managed to survive the shooting and has now filed a lawsuit against several defendants, including the nonprofit organization that allowed Gaston-Anderson to be out on the streets that day in the first place. The Bail Project, based in California, is a “national” organization that provides bail assistance to thousands of accused persons across the country in an attempt to “restore the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that criminalizes race and poverty,” its website claims. A Las Vegas office for the Bail Project, which opened in February 2021, posted $3,000 for Gaston-Anderson just six days before he shot Wang.
Wang’s lawsuit claims that TBP made a series of missteps that led to the shooting. For one thing, Gaston-Anderson already had a lengthy rap sheet, which includes convictions for attempted grand larceny in Las Vegas, felony burglary in New York, and stealing a car in Illinois. In the weeks leading up to the shooting, Gaston-Anderson had been arrested twice for two separate allegations. In November 2021, he was arrested for pandering and carrying a concealed weapon and released without having to pay bail. The next day, he was arrested for burglary and theft. At that point, Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Amy Chelini set Gaston-Anderson’s bail at $3,000 based on the recommendation of the district attorney. TBP paid that $3,000 bail on December 14, and Gaston-Anderson went on to shoot Wang on December 20.
Wang’s lawsuit also alleges that TBP never actually registered as a bail agency in the state of Nevada, as is required by law.
“They’re going around as a bailing agency bailing people out with no or little due diligence,” said Wang’s attorney, Kory Kaplan.
Wang, who suffers permanent damage as a result of the shooting, is also suing Gaston-Anderson as well as U.S. Hui De Real Estate Investment Corp., which owns the property where Wang was shot. The lawsuit alleges that the property had inadequate security. Wang is seeking $15,000 for pain and suffering from each defendant named in the lawsuit.
T Bail Project, which claims to be “on a mission to end cash bail,” shuttered its Las Vegas office in December for “restructuring” purposes, an organization spokesperson stated. Celebrities Richard Branson, Danny Glover, and John Legend all sit on the group’s advisory board.