The Chicago Police Department apologized publicly and in private to rapper and Grammy award winner Che “Rhymefest” Smith after he tweeted his mistreatment while reporting a robbery that occurred at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
A few hours later, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Smith an apology saying, “Disappointing to say the least. On behalf of CPD, I apologize for how you were treated. We will be addressing this today.”
According to the Chicago-Sun Times, Smith also received a call from Chief of Patrol Fred Waller, who gave his condolences and confirmed authorities would immediately begin an investigation into the robbery.
Smith says the robbery, compacted with his interaction with the police made him weary. “I went from having a guy holding a gun to my head, telling me today is the day I’m going to die, to being treated like a criminal when I tried to make a report,” he said.
On Saturday, the rapper, 39, posted a two-minute video, detailing his difficulty with two police officers who nearly threw him out of the Grand Crossing District station once he began filming.
According to the Sun Times, Smith says a female officer questioned why he ventured to that specific station instead of one closer to his home, and then asked why the robber hadn’t taken his phone during the encounter.
Smith says he answered her questions, but noticed she wasn’t taking down his response. “I asked her, ‘Ma’am, are you going to write this down? Is there a form you want me to fill out?’” he said. “She said, ‘You don’t ask the questions. I ask the questions.’”
When Smith asked to speak with her supervisor, the sergeant told him to leave. After the tense exchange, he pulled out his phone to begin filming.
In the video, Smith who is clearly frustrated, reiterates that he gave his account of events. The female officer interrupts, scolding him for using his phone. When Smith refuses to turn off his phone, she walks around the counter to where another officer is standing.
Near the end of the video, the officers agree to take down the report and Smith thanks them.
Early Saturday before he entered the station, Smith took to twitter to report a young man pointed a gun at his head, demanding he give over his wallet.
The rapper is heavily active in the Chicago’s South Side community and is a close friend and collaborator of rapper Kanye West.
He says after the officers took his report, he informed them of who he was, but lamented that status should not afford you the inherent right to report a crime to the police.
Smith says he wants a one-on-one conversation with Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, in regards to how he was treated, but most importantly, he urges the young man who pointed the gun to his head to reach out to him for guidance.
“I would like to help him. I would like to get him a job, rather than have him hurt someone. But there has to be accountability, but I want him to know he doesn’t have to walk that alone,” he said.
On Sunday, Smith tweeted that he would use his platform as an artist to bring awareness to the issue. He posted a series of tweets showing the process in the studio, including a photo of him with collaborators and producers, along with rapper Xzibit.
By Sunday evening, there was artwork and a link to the finished product titled Cops N Robbers, featuring John the Author, available on the music-streaming site Soundcloud.
SOURCES: Chicago Sun Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter