Monday, June 3, 2013

New Jersey Cops Shoot (Comical) Gangsta Rap Video. Should They Be Fired Or Is This Free Speech?!?

I'm sure ya'll think I have two cents on the whole Roy Hibbert "no homo" story. Honestly, I got nothing. Grown men shouldn't use teenage slang when in mixed company. Whether saying "no homo" is any worse than saying "pause" or "that's what she said" is a fair debate. But I think we can all agree this incident was overblown. Again, when in doubt, act your age.

Speaking of acting your age, witness this extreme f*ckery from the state of New Jeruz.
The music video for the song "Temper Like An Alcoholic," performed by Irvington hip-hop artist "Gat The Great," embodies all the bad stereotypes of a 1990s "gangsta rap" video. 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. The lyrics might be tame for a hard-nosed rapper, but Gat and his posse are only part-time musicians.

Gat is better known as Officer Maurice Gattison, president of Irvington’s police union, and the other three men are decorated township officers. 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?

Township attorney Marvin Braker said he was troubled by some of Gattison’s lyrics, but the song could be considered protected free speech. Gattison, a veteran cop whom Santiago described as a talented and productive detective, doesn’t understand the controversy. He said he has been rapping since he was a teenager and the insults weren’t aimed at anyone or meant as threats.

"I’m not doing nothing to nobody," he said. "I could see if I was targeting somebody, but it’s just lyrical exercise."
And without further adieu, here's the movin' pictures.

Uhhh, okay then. Could someone tell me what homeboy with the sphinx on his shirt has in his hands? What exactly do you call that?[1] I'd google it, but I'm sure I could get back some unsavory results. Either way, he looks like a damn fool. Then again, these are cops who shot a hardcore rap video in which they flashed their badges and batons. Not really dealin' with a full deck here.

Still, if you step back and really think about it, should these guys really be in trouble for this? Yes, it's stupid, but does anyone really think this moron would "bang em' wit' the hammer"? Rap is 99% fiction, and when you already have an ex-corrections office atop the rap music charts (#bawse) isn't it pretty much understood this is little more than performance art? Sure, it's behavior unbecoming an officer, but isn't that about the extent of the offense? How is this any different than doing community theater? Not bein' funny here, just askin'.

If I was a citizen of Irvington, I might be more offended at the fake fur and stolen beats (seriously?) than anything else. But that's just me.

Question: Should this guy be fired, or do cops also have the right to free speech/expression when off the clock? Should your employer be able to restrict your free speech when off the clock? Any thoughts on the Roy Hibbert "no homo" story?

[1] "Medieval mace"?!?

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