Police Spying On Rappers?
Despite denials from the New York Police Department that a "hip-hop division" exists to keep an eye on rap stars, a press report on March 9 suggested that the department does indeed run such an operation, and is sharing its data with other police departments around the country. Artists profiled allegedly include 50 Cent, Eminem, P. Diddy, Jay-Z and Ja Rule.
The Miami Herald exposes the Miami Police Department's tactics of spying on hip-hop celebrities and their entourages when they descend onto South Beach. Officers admitted in the report that they regularly photograph rappers as they arrive at Miami International Airport, tap hotel and club workers for information on the celebs' comings and goings, and stake out hotspots and video shoots.
"A lot [of], if not most, rappers belong to some sort of gang. We keep track of their arrests and associates," Miami police Sergeant Rafael Tapanes is quoted as saying. Some consider the tactics used by Miami police to be a form of racial profiling, but officials say they're concerned that since their city is a popular destination for rap celebrities, their citizens might get caught in the crossfire of emerging rap beefs.
"We have to keep an eye on these rivalries," Miami Beach Assistant Police Chief Charles Press told the paper. "The last thing we need in this city is violence."