City officials add voices to protest of 'Cop Killer' lyrics

July 30, 1992|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Staff Writer

Members of the city's Board of Estimates yesterday joined the chorus condemning Ice-T's "Cop Killer" rap by approving a resolution protesting Time Warner Inc.'s distribution and sale of the song.

The song's lyrics, "I'm going to bust some shots off. I'm going to dust some cops off," have angered police organizations and others who have called for a nationwide boycott of Time Warner. Ice-T, whose real name is Tracy Marrow, says he wrote the song to protest police brutality.

During yesterday's board meeting, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke summed up the city's position this way: "This is not the kind of song we want out there with our young people."

The board approved the resolution after trustees of the city's three retirement systems registered a protest with Time Warner about the production and sale of the record.

"We sent a letter to all of our money managers saying they thought the record was in poor taste and as stockholders we wanted to voice our displeasure," said Comptroller Jacqueline F. McLean, who chairs the pension system boards.

But while the trustees protested the record, they stopped short of threatening to withdraw their multimillion-dollar investment in Time Warner.

"That would be like cutting off our nose to spite our face," said Ms. McLean, who also sits on the Board of Estimates. "We still have to be reminded of our fiduciary responsibility . . . the stock is very good."

The resolution was cheered by Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police as well as Eugene Cassidy, a Baltimore police officer who was blinded in 1987 after being shot twice in the face while trying to make an arrest.

Led by his guide dog, Mr. Cassidy appeared before the board to applaud the resolution.

Mr. Cassidy said the Ice-T song -- in which the singer raps "I'd like to take a pig out into the parking lot and shoot him in his face" -- is offensive and reflects a destructive attitude. And while Mr. Cassidy acknowledged the singer's First Amendment right to develop his material, he said "Time Warner is not obligated to disseminate it."

Earlier this week, Time Warner Inc. recalled albums containing the controversial song "Cop Killer" after Ice-T requested that the company stop distributing the recording. Time Warner said it would send out a new version of the album without the controversial song within a few weeks. But Ice-T has vowed to give away free copies of the "Cop Killer" song at his concerts.

Ice-T said he made the request because of death threats by police officers against officials of Warner Bros. Records, the Time Warner unit that produced and distributed the album.

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