Online rap video urges killing Pittsburgh police
Pittsburgh police are investigating an online rap video that mentions convicted cop killer Richard Poplawski and advocates killing city officers.
Police learned of the video, titled “(Expletive) the Police,” on Thursday. Someone has since removed it from YouTube.
Warrants were issued Friday for Rashee Beasley, 20, of Garfield, and Jamal Knox, 18, of East Liberty, charging them with making terroristic threats, witness intimidation and related crimes.
Beasley and Knox have been arrested by officers from the city's Highland Park Zone 5 station. The video names at least one officer who patrols there.
Lyrics include “Like poplawski im strapped nasty” and “lets kill these cops cause they aint doing us no good,” police said.
“We are taking this very seriously,” police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. She declined to comment further.
Poplawski received a death sentenced for fatally shooting three Pittsburgh police officers on April 4, 2009, when they responded to a domestic call at his mother's Stanton Heights home.
University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris said artistic expression is protected by the First Amendment, but that protection does not necessarily extend to threats against a specific individual or an attempt to incite violence. He did not see the video.
“No matter whether the thing is in terrible taste or even offensive in a very basic way, well, it's not against the law to say stuff like that,” Harris said. “To make a general statement that is very pointed and unfortunate and stupid, but is not meant to be an instruction of any kind, that's not a threat.”
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh roots shape former Md. governor’s outlook in run for president
- Point Park graduate’s ‘mugshot’ photos hit nerve on racism
- Pittsburgh HealthyRide bike share system scales back planned launch
- Day care operator gets long sentence for neglect of children
- Steelers nose tackle McCullers finds performance, fitness go hand in hand
- Delay sought in enforcing regulation to make mortgages easier to understand
- Gorman: WPIAL trio triumphs over tragedy
- Write-in opens up mayoral race in Greensburg
- GMC Sierra is part workhorse, part command center
- Spring is season of champions in A-K Valley
- Seton Hill won’t manage new apartment project for student housing in city