Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
5/14/2004 7:58:02 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Various Artists.
The convicted killers of a young rapper. A bodyguard without a proper weapons permit. The cousin of a slain rap legend, with his own attempted murder charges.
All these, and 77 others, are included in a binder of rap artists and their associates compiled over several years of investigative work by the New York Police Department.
NY Police gave the binder -- first detailed by The Herald -- to Miami and Miami Beach police in 2003 during a hip-hop training session. Beach police offered to provide The Herald with a copy after the newspaper filed a public records request.
The binder's contents will be discussed today during a symposium at the Miami Beach Convention Center, co-hosted by the Miami Beach Black Host Committee.
A Herald review of the binder showed it contains tracking information on serious criminals but also on people arrested for nonviolent crimes such as marijuana possession or driving with a suspended license.
• More than half the people listed had been arrested -- and many convicted -- for crimes including gun and drug possession, assault, robbery and murder.
• The records included Social Security numbers, home phone and cell numbers, the favorite clubs of top rap artists, like Jay-Z, even the model and tag number of a car parked outside Lil' Kim's New Jersey home.
• At least 17 individuals, including label executive Damon Dash, Public Enemy's Flavor Flav and rapper Fabolous -- charged respectively with larceny, driving without a license and possessing a gun -- are listed alongside convicted drug traffickers and killers.
• Seventy-three people in the binder are black; five are white or Hispanic; and two are of unknown origin.
Derrick Parker, a retired NY City detective, says he began keeping files on hip-hoppers after the murder of rapper The Notorious B.I.G. in Los Angeles in 1997. Parker said the intelligence gathering was needed because of violent crimes associated with certain rappers.
''All the shootings and rivalries and disputes and things that have happened, you have to be prepared to know all these things,'' Parker said. ``It's not that you're profiling people, it's that you're making yourself aware.''
New York police declined to comment.
Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said the binder was used only during the hip-hop training session in New York last year.
''[The binder] has served as impetus for the hip-hop symposium the Miami Beach Police Department is co-hosting [today]. In fact, in this context, it has been extremely helpful because it has encouraged much-needed dialogue,'' Hernandez said.
Miami police spokesman Sgt. Angel Calzadilla said: ``We've learned we really haven't had a need for this binder. All the stuff in it you could get off the Internet.''
The Herald showed the binder to four experts to get their opinions on its propriety.
''I don't think any of it violates any kind of statute against collecting information on people making a living under the public spotlight,'' former Miami Police Chief Ken Harms said. ``Public gatherings that require police dictate some form of intelligence gathering.''
Some legal scholars said the binder causes more problems than it's worth.
''To lump all these disparate issues together is problematic -- from traffic stops to custody battles to people getting shot at. The police need to do intelligent intelligence gathering,'' said Aya Gruber, a Florida International University law professor and former federal public defender.
OPEN TO CHALLENGE
Brooklyn Law School Professor Susan N. Herman said police have broad power to surveil and monitor people but could open themselves up to a First Am
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