by Jeff Douglas / cwla Tuesday August 11, 2009
A Florida rapper is sentenced to two years in prison for a song called ‘Kill Me a Cop’ that he produced as a teenager.
Authorities say 20-year-old Antavio Johnson raps about killing two Lakeland, Fla., police officers in the tune, which cops found on MySpace while surfing for gang-related activity.
Johnson pleaded no contest to two counts of corruption by threat of a public servant and was sentenced to two years in prison last month. He was already in jail on a cocaine charge at the time. …
Singing about killing a cop was not Johnson’s first mistake. Pleading guilty and not hiring a lawyer were. Just ask Ice Cube and N.W.A., who sang ‘%#@* tha Police’ as a form of police protest more than 20 years ago.
Back in 1988, N.W.A had everyone from the FBI to the Secret Service breathing down its neck and lawsuits galore. If someone could have figured out a way to charge the group with a crime, lock ‘em up and throw away the key, I’m sure it would’ve happened.
According to the Daily Beast, Johnson was trying to make a similar lyrical protest when he wrote ‘Kill Me a Cop,’ about two police officers who harassed him.
The song announced: “Im’ma kill me a cop one day.” It called out two specific officers by name, both of whom would be shot with a “glock” in the “dome” if they ever “get my timing wrong.” The best part is not the snappy lyrics. If you Google this kid’s name, you’ll see that he’s a self-proclaimed Christian rapper.
Anyway, did Johnson deserve a two-year sentence for some stupid lyrics he wrote as a teenager? No, of course not.
Should we be surprised that a judge would hand down such a harsh sentence? No. Not at all. To quote professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.: “This is what happens to black men in America!”
After all, there’s some real irony here. This case is not about free speech and it’s not about a legitimate threat to a police officer’s life. It’s about Johnson and the N.W.A. and Gates and countless others who have been complaining about an unfair justice system for decades. At the root of this system is institutionalized police harassment of black people.
But wait a minute, you say. Shouldn’t Johnson get some punishment for making a specific threat at these cops? Yes. If you threaten a cop, there should be consequences. But two years in jail for a song that was never played on the radio? This sounds like more injustice and harassment to me.
Did we accuse John McCain of war crimes for singing “bomb, bomb Iran?”
It’s not about a crime, it’s about the authority and attempts to silence protest. And until something changes, people like Johnson will be rapping and singing about police harassment for decades to come.
The good news is this young man has a lawyer now and the ACLU at his back. He could get his sentence knocked down or thrown out in an appeal.
I posted the song below. Hope I don’t get arrested for it.