by Alex Newman
The explosive link between the Justice Department-funded organization and the glorification of violence against police was first reported by the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal news outlet on December 22.
|Screengrab from video|
As if the American people needed more evidence that the Obama administration’s Justice Department was out of control after six years of non-stop scandals, it was recently revealed that the DOJ was funding a “community” organization linked to a controversial rap music video glorifying the murder of New York City police officers. The group in question, Bronx Defenders, has received at least $1.5 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars from the Department of Justice, and played a prominent role in the pro-cop killing music video. The link between the widely condemned rap production and the DOJ made headlines this week after two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers were murdered, execution style, under the guise of obtaining “revenge” for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
The explosive link between the Justice Department-funded organization and the glorification of violence against police was first reported by the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal news outlet on December 22. It was not immediately clear whether the Bronx Defenders group, which is featured in the video, along with staff attorneys for the organization, played a role in financing the violent film. In addition to DOJ funding offered under a program ironically named after a murdered NYPD officer, the organization has also received upwards of $40 million from city taxpayers just in the last two years. So far, the Bronx Defenders has largely remained silent about the full extent of its involvement in the production, according to media reports.
The lyrics and images, though, sparked a national outcry and left members of the law-enforcement community furious. “For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed,” go the words of the song, called “Hands Up (Eric Garner Tribute)” by rappers “Uncle Murda” and “Maino.” "Time to start killing these coppers." The music video also features numerous images of two black men dressed in thug costumes pointing handguns at a police officer’s head. The violent words of the rap song make numerous references to killing law enforcement officers to obtain “revenge” and “justice” over the alleged systemic racism and brutality of police officers across America.
The deeply controversial rap clip, posted on Youtube and viewed well over 150,000 times so far, shows the Bronx Defenders, too, on multiple occasions. In one scene, a grieving mother walks into the organization’s taxpayer-funded office. There, a Bronx Defenders lawyer, reportedly a managing director, comforts her over the apparent fictional loss of her son at the hands of police. At the end of the video, a banner advertisement for the Bronx Defenders is shown, along with the group’s website and Twitter account. Since 2007, the organization has received over $100 million in taxpayer funding from the city, in addition to at least $1.5 million in federal grants of U.S. taxpayer funds since 2009 by Obama’s DOJ under the “Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant Program.”
The Bronx Defenders mostly refused to answer the Daily Signal’s questions and requests for comment about its role in potentially funding the video, or about its repeated appearances in the clip. The Justice Department also failed to respond to requests for comment, the media outlet reported. Despite the escalating scandal, as of December 26, neither the DOJ nor Bronx Defenders had also issued a formal statement on their websites about the rap song or the possible role of taxpayer funding in producing it. An earlier article about the taxpayer-funded non-profit group’s ties to the rap video, though, did say the organization had issued a statement saying it did not know the clip would feature images of thugs holding guns to a police officer’s head. While the statement did not mention the pro-cop-killing lyrics, Bronx Defenders reportedly said it had asked for the video to be taken down.
Aside from the images of guns pointed at a police officer’s head, the violent words of the song have also sparked a growing national uproar — especially in light of the links to taxpayer funding and the recent murders of two New York police officers. “For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed; ’cause I’m black, police think they got the right to shoot me; No jail time, their punishment is death’s duty; … By any means necessary let’s make them respect us,” the rappers say in the video, which also features real and fictional video of police officers in confrontations with citizens.
It continues: “Killin’ unarmed black men, makin’ mothers holla; And this what the government payin’ with our tax dollars?; (Crazy!) All these unjustified shootin’s; Then they call us animals when we start lootin’; Those kids ain’t had no gun and the police knew it; [rapper] Jay need to talk to Obama or let me do it … My lil’ homie told me he ready to ride; Ferguson was on his mind, he ready to fire; Staring at a cop who got death in his eyes; He want to kill me, I can tell, so my head’s in the sky; I’m stressing so I’m grabbing my MAC-11 [pistol]; Told my mama I’m’a end up on Channel 11.”
Even before the December 20 execution-style murder of police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos by rapper Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley in New York City, though, the links between the DOJ-funded Bronx Defenders and the cop-killing rap video had sparked alarm. “It’s reprehensible that the city and its taxpayers are essentially supporting a video that encourages the idea of shooting police officers,” a police source was quoted as telling the New York Post in a December 12 article, which noted that the “vile online rap video … urges black people to kill NYPD cops.” The murder of the two officers by the gunman who wanted “revenge” for Garner and Michael Brown of Ferguson, unsurprisingly, sparked a fresh wave of outrage about the video.
Another law-enforcement source quoted in the article, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, went even further, suggesting that the deliberate promotion of cop-killing ought to be considered a crime. “This video goes well beyond the parameters for protected speech and constitutes a serious threat to the lives of police officers,” Lynch told the Post. In addition to concerns over the video, police officers in New York, as well as their union officials, have also engaged in a high-profile showdown with extreme far-left New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, whom they held partially responsible, along with Attorney General Holder and race profiteer Al Sharpton, for the murders and the escalating anti-police sentiment.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement officers have all grown increasingly weary of the Justice Department, too — especially under the reign of Obama’s disgraced attorney general, currently in criminal contempt of Congress for trying to cover up his role in arming Mexican drug cartels in Operation Fast and Furious. The guns trafficked to criminals as part of that plot have been found at the murder scenes of at least two federal agents so far, in addition to being used in the slayings of hundreds of Mexican citizens. Indeed, advocates for law enforcement say the Justice Department has increasingly been at “war” with local and state police.
“As an expert and also essentially a watchdog on DOJ cases and management since the War on Law Enforcement began with targeted prosecution against law enforcement initially under the George W. Bush Administration, I can unequivocally state the Justice Department has been all about politics and certainly no longer interested in justice,” explained Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Advocates Council. “Under Bush, it was the protection of illegal alien drug and human traffickers while providing law enforcement scalps upon foreign government request. Under Obama, it has been about expanding if not fomenting racial divisions. Look back to the Harvard incident where Obama and Holder, instead of investigating quietly under the ‘we cannot confirm, deny, or otherwise comment on any investigation that may or may not be ongoing...’, to openly issuing relative condemnations without so much as the facts.”
“That is the modus operandi and pattern of this administration,” Ramirez told The New American, adding that efforts to federalize the police were an overreach infringing on powers constitutionally left for the states. “Most LEOs have zero regard, let alone trust, for this administration, which has only worsened over time, especially after the Trayvon Martin case. This certainly was not helped by Ferguson or the endless banter joined in by fellow race-baiters Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Active and retired law enforcement I have worked and spoken with have long believed and stated that this administration needs to go in the worst way.”
Speaking of the taxpayer funding for the non-profit group involved in the rap video, Ramirez said it “only furthers such feelings and increases the chasm between politicians and the electorate, for in all honesty, it's unconscionable given the contents.” He also said such grants and rewards only further increase distrust. “It's clearly pork legislation that must be ceased immediately,” he added, referring to federal taxpayer funding for Bronx Defenders and other such “community” organizations. It remains to be seen whether the DOJ or New York Mayor DeBlassio will issue apologies for spending the public’s tax money in such a manner.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at
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