Pennsylvania Officials Object to Ice-T Lecture
Its been 15 years since the release of “Cop Killer,” Ice-T’s controversial song recorded after the beating of motorist Rodney King by the LAPD. The song, however, is still stirring up controversy. The rapper and actor has been tapped to give a lecture in Dauphin County, PA by the local Victim/Witness Assistance Program. Local officials, however, are less than pleased with the decision. According to The Patriot News, a group of law enforcement officers and Dauphin County commissioner Nick DiFrancesco have objected to the program’s selection of an artist who has penned anti-police lyrics. Despite the fact that Ice has spoken at several events about the dangers of drug use and gang violence, the commissioner argued that provocative images of his wife and firearms on the rapper’s website are inconsistent with his message. “Things on the web site are not consistent with what we would promote,” said DiFrancesco.
George Hartwick and Jeff Haste, also commissioners in the county, expressed similar concerns about the event. Jennifer Storm, executive director of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program, counters that Ice’s street credibility and first hand experience with gangs is part of the reason why he was selected. “His lyrics speak to a lot of people about the tragedy of gang violence,” Storm said. “He's the best person to come and do what we need him to do.” Storm also noted that, perhaps ironically, Ice-T portrays a police officer on the hit TV show Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit. “We're bringing him here to address his Law & Order fan base,” said Storm. “We feel it's one of the best shows on TV right now that advocates on behalf of crime victims.” Released in 1992 on the LP Body Count, which Ice recorded with his hard-rock band of the same name, “Cop Killer” was an immediate source of controversy. The subsequent uproar from law enforcement officers across the country later prompted the removal of the song from the album.