PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A rap video, made locally and posted on YouTube, is getting a lot of attention. Some people say it goes too far because the lyrics talk about killing police officers.
The video, which was taken down late Thursday, references Richard Poplawski, the man convicted of in the shooting deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers in Stanton Heights in 2009.
Now, police are taking precautions.
The two men who produced the rap video are identified by officials as Rashee Beasley and Jamal Knox, both from Garfield.
In the video, two city police officers are threatened: “Let’s kill these cops ‘cause they ain’t doing us no good.” Poplawski is also held in high esteem.
Investigators and attorneys believe naming the officers, making specific threats, crosses the line from free speech to criminal activity.
“This is not a hypothetical type of situation,” said Phil DiLucente, a defense attorney. “This is a situation that has a direct impact to the threat that was made through social media to the masses.”
Suspects Beasley and Knox both have extensive criminal histories, and have upcoming criminal cases involving the two Pittsburgh police officers they allegedly threatened in the video.
As a result, police are right now putting together a criminal case that could involve terroristic threats and intimidation of witness charges.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “These police officers are going to testify against them, so you can get intimidation of witness, don’t you?”
DiLucente: “Absolutely, if there is an ongoing trial and they’re making these direct threats that’s exactly what you would have, intimidation of a witness, which is extremely serious.”
Meanwhile, police are right now working with YouTube, using a warrant to gain information as to where the video was sent from, and who sent it and who has the computer access.
Regarding the threats against Pittsburgh police, the department is taking them very seriously and will increase patrols in Zone 5 for as long as necessary, and will take extra precautions to protect the two officers named in the threats.
Police Investigating Locally-Produced, Controversial Rap Video (11/15/12)
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