Rapper Shoots Cop: Simple? Not Necessarily

Rapper Shoots Cop: Simple? Not Necessarily

gangsta_rap_FIn his musical persona as gansta rapper EB Da Iceman, 26-year-old Elton Badoo represents everything I suspect most readers of this site deplore about hip-hop culture: the crass vulgarity, the unceasing resort to obscenities, the obsession with cash, cars, jewelry, blunts and loose women. And most importantly, a disregard for safe gun handling that equals a disdain for the King's English.

In a video for a catchy little ditty called "Pull Out The Stick," Badoo and a fellow "artist" wave around a variety of AKs, pistols and shotguns while rapping in terms that can't be reproduced on a family website. Those of you who are sticklers for proper muzzle control just better not watch.

So you might think SGN readers would universally approve of a SWAT raid that went wrong when Badoo shot one of the officers assaulting his mother's North Miami house. Fortunately, Badoo was using a pistol, not one of the AKs, so the policeman's protective vest saved his life. To their credit, North Miami Beach Police Department personnel didn't take the shots fired as a reason to hose down the house, and after a brief standoff, Badoo and his mother were taken into custody without other injuries on either side. He's now in jail, charged with attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer.

Pretty cut and dried, right?

It is until you read the reason the cops were there in the first place. It wasn't because of the guns: Badoo had a clean police record, and so presumably was just as eligible to own them as anyone reading this. It wasn't the pot, although Badoo's music videos showed him consuming plenty. Let's let the Miami Herald explain:

"Friday's shooting was related to a federal investigation by North Miami Beach and Aventura police, who are part of a joint task force into unemployment fraud. Police wouldn't go into detail about the investigation and refused to publicly release the contents of the search warrant or say what was found as a result of the search."

Unemployment fraud? They sent a SWAT team for unemployment fraud? You don't have to be Al Sharpton to ask whether it's really necessary to send in the guys in the ninja suits for a paperwork crime. You don't have to be Louis Farrakhan to ask if the same level of force would have been brought to bear in a white neighborhood for the same offense.

Ask yourself where your sympathies would lie if it were the BATF breaking down the door of some gun collector with Badoo's clean criminal record. Remember the name Kenyon Ballew? He was universally regarded as a martyr to over-aggressive BATF tactics when he was shot in the head during a 1971 raid on his apartment that stemmed from someone seeing a dummy grenade on his shelf. Ballew tried to fend off what he thought were robbers with a blackpowder revolver and took a bullet to the skull that left him partially paralyzed.

I don't know all that much about Badoo. His mode of self-expression is not to my taste and I deplore his gun-handling antics. But if I'm going to get exercised when law enforcement uses heavy-handed tactics on people like me, I can't look away when they're used on the likes of Elton Badoo.

It's not a question of being anti-police. Law enforcement responds to cues from elected officials, judges, prosecutors and the public at large. If we tell them it's OK to break down someone's door for an administrative crime, we can't be surprised when it happens. We can't then be hypocrites and protest if it happens to people like us, but condone it for those who aren't.

No one wants cops to go back to the days when they were armed with a Smith Model 10 and a forceful tone. But we need to find some happy medium between that and a country where chicken inspectors have machine guns.

Still don't like hip-hop, though.

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