Main | Wednesday, March 13, 2013

NEW JERSEY: Cops Investigated For Rap Video Featuring Homophobic Slurs

Maurice Gattison, president of the Irvington, New Jersey police union, and three other officers are facing discipline for performing in a gangsta rap video that includes anti-gay slurs such as the word "faggot."
In the video, posted on YouTube, three other men flank Gat as the broad-shouldered emcee with the booming voice spits out various homophobic slurs and promise violence against his rivals. One man swings a medieval mace, and a handgun can be seen on "Gat’s" hip. In another video, Gat is decked out in a gaudy fur coat and raps from the driver’s seat of an expensive car. He calls himself a "felon for life" and warns other rappers they may have to "meet (his) Smith & Wesson," while pretending to fire a gun at the camera. All four are now the subject of an internal investigation because of the video, which has reignited a debate about what police officers can and can’t say. Does the right of free speech trump department rules and regulations when the cops are off-duty? "The Irvington Police Department has standards of conduct that apply to on-duty and off-duty behavior," Police Director Joseph Santiago said.
In a follow-up story published today, Gattison said, "The lyrics I used, in no way did I intend for them to be perceived as homophobic. It’s basically me adapting to the rap culture... just basically slang use." The video has been pulled from YouTube, but the Star-Ledger has posted a snippet. In a poll posted on the paper's website, most readers are supporting the officers' right to make these kinds of videos.
(Tipped by JMG reader Jim) UNRELATED: While I often jokingly refer to Newark as my "ancestral motherland," my parents are actually from the adjacent town of Irvington.

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