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Rap Song Protest Heats Up


Following the lead of a Texas police group, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores introduced a motion Friday calling for Time Warner Inc. to voluntarily stop selling rapper Ice-T's "Cop Killer," a song that she feels promotes the killing of police officers.

Flores, a Republican candidate in the upcoming election for a seat in the 36th Congresssional District, also called upon all radio stations in Los Angeles to quit playing the song, which includes the lyrics, "I got my 12-gauge sawed off / I got my headlights turned off / I'm 'bout to bust some shots off / I'm 'bout to dust some cops off."

"At a time when we are asking role models in the entertainment and sports industries to help heal our wounds from the Rodney King incident and the recent riots in Los Angeles, it is not responsible for record companies to be promoting songs that turn up the heat in Los Angeles right now."

In a phone interview from New York, Time Warner spokesman Edward Adler responded Friday to Flores' motion, which is scheduled for a vote in the City Council on Wednesday:

"This is not a matter of profits. It's a matter of principle. We absolutely deplore all violence and particularly violence against law enforcement officials. Nevertheless it is vital that we stand by our commitment to the free expression of ideas for all our authors, journalists, recording artists, screenwriters, actors and directors."

Meanwhile, a spokesman at Warner Bros. Records in Burbank said he doubts that the record is getting any radio airplay in Southern California because hard-core rap material doesn't fit any of the dominant radio music formats.

The debate over the song, which is contained on the Los Angeles rapper's new "Body Count" album, began when the Combined Law Enforcement Assn. of Texas on Wednesday called for a boycott of Time Warner. The association has since announced that its members may demonstrate at the company's annual shareholders' meeting July 16 in Beverly Hills unless the company disassociates itself from the song and apologizes to law enforcement officers nationwide.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department declined to comment on the Texas group's action or the council motion.

Officials at the National Rifle Assn. also publicly urged their membership to send letters of protest to Time Warner.

Ice-T, a leader in the controversial L.A. "gangsta" rap movement that also includes Ice Cube and the group N.W.A., has not been available for comment, but he told The Times in an interview May 1, two days after the the riots started that "black people look at the cops as the Gestapo. People thought it might come to an end (with the King trial) and they might get some justice. That was a false hope. People see (that) justice is a myth if you're black."

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