Ariz. city apologizes for video

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - City leaders have apologized after a program on Tempe's cable channel showed a white police officer telling two black men they could get out of a littering ticket by performing a rap.

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman and Police Chief Tom Ryff apologized for the show Thursday and suspended its future production after black community leaders voiced outrage and disappointment.

"I accept responsibility for the actions of my staff and apologize to any members of our community who have been offended," Ryff said during a news conference Friday.

The segment appeared on "Tempe StreetBeat," a program produced by police in the Phoenix suburb that followed several officers on patrol. It shows Sgt. Chuck Schoville pulling over two men in August in a mall parking lot.

He first asks for a name and ID from the driver and then asks the two men if they know how much the fine is for littering.

The officer then tells the men that they can avoid getting a littering ticket "if the two of you just do a little rap about - what do you want to do a rap about? Littering? About the dangers of littering."

The two men agree, and each performs a short rap, laughing afterward. One says, "The dangers of littering, you will get a ticket. If you ain't wit' it, you better be experienced."

The second man raps, "Yo, I just got pulled over 'cause I threw my trash out the window when they rolled over. They got behind me and pulled me over."

Later, Schoville talks football with the men, one of whom agrees with his prediction that the Oakland Raiders will make it to the Super Bowl this year.

Schoville then says, "You know why you say I'm right? Because I got a gun and badge. I'm always right. That's the way it works, right?" The three laugh and the two men get in their car.

Leaders of chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Action Network expressed outrage and demanded that the city act.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin of the National Action Network, who was at Friday's news conference, said he had accepted Hall's and Ryff's apologies and intends to make sure the police department makes good on a proposal for an African American advisory board and increased diversity training.

"It's important for police officers to realize that black people do not speak hip hop," Maupin said. "We're not all rappers and thugs and gangbangers. We speak the English language and we're entitled to the same amount of respect."

Ryff said the department is investigating how the video got on the air, who watched it and who edited it. He wouldn't discuss whether there would be any punishment for those involved.

Copyright 2006 Canadian Press
I would be inclined to give them a ticket if they did perform a rap.
I'm with Juan on this one.

That policeman though...I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that this guy was ever let onto the force. To do the (look over your shoulder) and then say something rude or stereotypical of someone is one thing and just shows ignorance. But to do it in front of a camera, knowing it will be televised...that takes a special kind of stupidity.

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