A North Carolina restaurant has apologized to police in Raleigh after an officer claimed employees sang a famous anti-police rap song while he was eating with his colleagues.
On April 28, the local police union responded on its Facebook page, reports the Daily Mail. The sarcastic post “thanked” the Smithfield’s restaurant for its “class and professionalism as you sang ‘F*** the police’ as my brothers at Raleigh Police Department attempted to eat at your restaurant. The manager sang along as well. Do you really feel that was appropriate?”
The post has since been liked over 200 times and shared more than 2,600 times.
The Facebook post resulted in a prompt apology from the restaurant’s owner, David Harris, reports The News & Observer. “Willie McKennies is my partner and has been the General Manager since the store opened over 17 years ago,” wrote Harris on Facebook. “We have had a long standing relationship with Raleigh Police Department. We respect law enforcement, we have called upon them in the past for assistance, we take utmost seriousness of this issue.”
Harris further promised “a thorough investigation” and said he would “terminate anyone employed that doesn’t share our RESPECT of ALL law enforcement.”
The police association thanked Harris on their page for his “quick and heartfelt response to this matter. We truly believe that the actions of these employees do not share your values,” the poster said.
Speaking about the incident at the restaurant, Raleigh Police Protective Association President Matthew Cooper said: “This is something that, unfortunately, officers have to deal with now on a regular basis.”
The song in question was recorded and released by N.W.A. in 1989, and later became what Billboard magazine called “the unofficial motto” of the riots following the 1992 acquittal of four LAPD police officers who were video taped beating Rodney King.
The song also drew the attention of the FBI, which sent a letter to the record’s distributor in 1989. “Advocating violence and assault is wrong, and we in the law enforcement community take exception to such action,” said the letter. “Law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to the protection of our citizens, and recordings such as the one from N.W.A. are both discouraging and degrading to these brave, dedicated officers.”
The letter itself was controversial, being accused as an attack on free speech.
“It is completely inappropriate for any government agency to try to influence what artists do,” said the ACLU at the time, observes The Daily Beast. “It is completely against the American tradition of free speech and government non-interference for government agencies to criticize art, because such criticism carries with it an implied threat.”