The Obama administration’s Justice Department funneled at least $1.5 million in grants to a New York legal-aid group featured in a new rap video that depicts two young black men aiming handguns at a white police officer.
Some may find the lyrics eerily similar to the social media postings of the man accused of shooting and killing two New York City police officers execution-style in Brooklyn on Saturday.
The video for “Hands Up,” which also shows a white police officer gunning down a black motorist wearing a hoodie, contains lyrics suggesting revenge for much-publicized deaths of black men in confrontations with police.
Credited to rappers Uncle Murda and Maino, the video is subtitled “Eric GarnerTribute,” a reference to a black man who died while being pinned and restrained on a sidewalk by New York police officers.
The taxpayer money that went to the organization shown in the video, the Bronx Defenders, comes from a Justice Department program named for Edward Byrne, a New York Police Department officer who was shot dead at close range in 1988.
Among the lyrics to “Hands Up”:
’cause I’m black, police think they got the right to shoot me
No jail time, their punishment is desk duty
… By any means necessary let’s make them respect us
Police investigators say that hours before he shot Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos as they sat in their squad car in Brooklyn, Ismaailyl Brinsleywrote these words on his Instagram account: “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.”
In a recurring image in their video, rappers Uncle Murda and Maino point guns at the front and back of the head of an actor in a police uniform. The video also features other actors in police uniforms and cars with the markings of NYPD cruisers.