Monday, December 04, 2006

Ariz. Cop Had Black Men Rap Away Ticket

"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."