Attorney For Officer Has Said It Is A First Amendment Matter

IRVINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Four police officers from Irvington, N.J., were facing internal affairs charges this weekend, because of gangsta rap videos in which they appeared while off duty.

Irvington Police Director Joseph Santiago told The Star-Ledger that Maurice Gattison, president of the city’s police union, and three other decorated officers were recently charged with conduct unbecoming a police officer.

If found guilty, the officers could all lose their jobs.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported in March that Gattison, an 18-year veteran of the force, raps under the name “Gat the Great.”

He has appeared in numerous videos. One features Gattison rapping about drinking, using an anti-gay epithet and calling himself a “felon for life.” In one scene Gattison, clad in a fur coat, sits in a car and tells others they might have to meet a Smith & Wesson. He then briefly points his finger at the camera as though he’s firing a gun.

“The lyrics that I used in no way did I intent for them to be perceived as homophobic or anything like that,” Gattison told CBS 2’s Sloan in March.

Gattison’s attorney has defended his client’s actions, saying it was a matter of First Amendment rights.

Gattison also defended himself, saying he was just expressing himself musically.

“I dress like this every day at work. I work in narcotics, that’s how I fit in,” Gattison told Sloan in March. “Would my conduct come under question if I was at karaoke night and singing a Tupac song?”

Gattison said he has been rapping for years.

“I could see if I was targeting somebody, but it’s just a lyrical exercise,” he told the Star-Ledger.

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