NYPD Top Cop Bill Bratton Calls Rappers 'Thugs', Rants About 'Smartphone Epidemic'

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton ranted in a recent radio interview about the deadly shooting at a T.I. concert at Irving Plaza, calling rap artists thugs. He also raised eyebrows when criticizing the public for using smartphones to record police activity.

Even though sources on the scene said the shooting happened before the Atlanta-based rapper was set to take the stage, and that T.I. was not involved in the violence, Bratton called "so-called rap artists" thugs "that celebrate the violence they did in their lives, and unfortunately that violence oftentimes manifests itself during their performances and that's exactly what happened last evening."

Bratton was being interviewed on "The Len Berman and Todd Schnitt Show" on 710 WOR radio on Thursday.

The top NYPD cop went on to say, "The background of a lot of these young people, they are significant artists in that world... but unfortunately the lifestyles that they lived... often time follows them into the entertainment world and the success they have in it."

According to a report by Slate, Bratton added that the music "celebrates violence, celebrates the degradation of women, it celebrates the drug culture."

Speaking about music being blamed for violence, Bratton's statement was criticized by Manny Faces, the executive director of the Center for Hip-Hop advocacy, who said, "This was not a rap problem."

"This was a people problem."
Faces then criticized Bratton further by saying that lumping people together based on some kind of cultural commonality and making statements that "broadly vilify a community of people based on the actions of a few is practically the definition of bigotry."Rap legend Darryl (DMC) McDaniels of the group Run-DMC was also quoted as saying Bratton had struck a sour note.

"He should have known better," the Queens rapper said.

McDaniels said Bratton should have kept it specific to what happened, and that, "All rappers ain't gangsters. I went to St. John's University, so I took it personally."

Besides Bratton and his statement against rappers, McDaniels said he also blames TV and radio for perpetuating the gangster stereotype. "When you turn on Hot97 or MTV," he said, "you only see the dark, stupid ignorant side of us."

In a later interview on NY1's Inside Politics, the top NYPD cop also had harsh words for the 33-year-old rapper responsible for the crime.

As reported by The Inquisitr, Roland (Troy Ave) Collins was reportedly charged Thursday with attempted murder in the shooting at the Union Square venue that left one person dead and three injured.

Reportedly following ballistics tests, the charge could be elevated to murder in the death of 30-year-old Ronald (Edgar) McPhatter, sources told the New York Daily News.

The interview with New York police commissioner Bill Bratton is included here.

The controversy over rap artists isn't the only reason Bratton is trending in the news right now. As reported by the New York Daily News, the New York police commissioner is also out of touch when speaking of smartphone use by the general public.

Reportedly, Bratton recently ranted about the "epidemic" of smartphone owners recording cops doing their jobs. The rant came just one month after the NYPD issued a legal bulletin to remind police officers of the public's fundamental First Amendment right to film the police in action. It seems the police commissioner might not have received a copy.

The memo, issued by the NYPD office of deputy commissioner for legal matters – a copy of which was obtained by the New York Daily News – was reportedly prepared to "provide guidance to police officers."

Quoting that memo, their report states: "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a member of the service threaten, intimidate, or otherwise discourage an observer from recording the police officers' activities assuming the observer is at a safe distance."

The memo reportedly then goes on to warn cops not to intentionally block or obstruct recording devices or delete any videos from onlookers' cameras.

Reportedly the memo was met with praise by civil rights lawyers at the time, but after Bratton's comments on Wednesday relating to "mobs" armed with cellphones, they say this undermines its purpose.

Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union said, "The real problem we have in New York City is that police officials ignore policies like this and instead treat photography as a threat as highlighted by Commissioner Bratton's statements.".

The reason for Bratton's rant was that he was asked about the incident involving Officer Risel Martinez, a Harlem cop. A video was published last week showing the police officer pointing a gun at onlookers on W. 134th St.

During the incident, Martinez, 26, was reportedly caught on a second video, punching the man who was recording him at the time. Martinez has been stripped of his gun and badge as the Internal Affairs Bureau investigates the incident.

According to Normal Siegel, the former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the memo about the public and their smartphones should be published on the NYPD website, saying, "The do's and don'ts are extremely helpful, but the real question is how the memo will be enforced."

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]