david ware’s lyrics and the role they played in his shooting

The Ypsilanti Police Department has just released the official report (pdf) marking the end of the investigation into an unarmed man’s killing by police here on January 23, 2007. If you’re curious to know more about the incident, there’s quite a bit in the MM.com archives. For right now, however, I just wanted to share these short clips from the report pertaining to why the officer who shot and killed David Antjuan Ware may have had reason to suspect that he was carrying a gun.

I’m not suggesting that the police officer who killed Ware wasn’t right to have used lethal force. Ware was a known criminal fleeing from the site of a felony, who may have, through his actions, given officers reason to believe that he was armed. What I find really odd, however, is the fact that the police felt it necessary to bring Ware’s rap lyrics into it, holding them up as evidence against him. According to the logic of the report, the officer who fired the fatal shot had every reason to suspect that Ware was armed because of the content of his songs.

Does that strike anyone else as odd? (It reminds me of when religious-types pick apart popular songs looking for references to the occult.)

I can’t imagine what the police would find in lyrics that I’ve uttered over the years, but I’m sure that someone creative could use them to demonstrate almost anything.

Well, to end on a good note, I did notice that they got the deceased’s name right in this press release.

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13 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Mark,

    It wasn’t simply the lyrics, it was the video that showed Ware and how he stored his gun.

    There were repeated scenes in the video where he is shown stashing the gun in his pants and he draws it out and waves it around. It is alleged that prior to the Buy-Bust, LAWNET reviewed the DVD to learn more about Ware.

    On Fox2 tonight, they had a story and showed clips from the Video.

    It wasn’t the content of the songs, one of the factors was his actions on the DVD. Besides repeatedely flashing a gun, in the video Ware can be seen it what Ware says on DVD that he is cooking crack. He even mentions in the DVD that he is in the apartments over on MacArthur

    – Steve

  2. mark
    Posted April 24, 2007 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for pointing that out, Steve. Yes, there was a video shot for the song which apparently showed Ware with a gun tucked into his pants. According to the report, this video was watched prior to the bust, and officers took note of where he carried his weapon. As I don’t know how that could be verified, I guess we’ll have to take their word for it.

    Again, I’m not suggesting that the police were wrong in this instance. I’m just pointing out how odd it was that they spent so much time in the report going over his lyrics and what they may have meant.

  3. egpenet
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    When hip-hop commentaries and videos claim it’s all fantasy … remember David Ware. Anderson Cooper’s commentary/interviews about “snitches” said a lot about the alienation the community feels about society and law enforcement. In some cities, case resolutions are as low as 6%.

    As I said earlier, after I facilitated the first meeting, I feel a great sadness.

  4. Ol' E Cross
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I had the dangdest time getting that to post. Finally figured out it was the inclusion of the word p-ssy.

    Turns out your blog is censoring your music. (Not that self-censoring is a bad thing. I probably should get better at it.)

  5. Dirtgrain
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve discovered a lot about David Hasselhoff’s vehicles and driving habits by watching “Knight Rider.” If police ever attempt to arrest Hasselhoff, they should first blow up his car.

    I’ve heard of cops getting geeky and doing these (watching music videos to learn more about those who are in them). Was this a music video or a home movie? Earlier reports said that they knew Ware carried a gun, and I assumed they had valid sources. I hope the video wasn’t the only source. If fiction and reality become blurred for our police, then shouldn’t we be worried?

  6. Posted April 25, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mark for allowing me to post.
    first of all the cops have never heard his music it is not like he is 50 cent and if they had of heard the song first they would have presented it a lot earlier the lyrics said that he kept his 9 in a holster under his shoulder i smell fieger

  7. ytown
    Posted April 25, 2007 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I think that watching Knight Rider would be a great idea if David Hasselhoff were a known drug dealer and felon. Does anyone feel safer that a known drug dealer who brags about killing and carrying is off the street? I do! I don’t wish anyone death, however, I do believe that we have the right to live without fear.
    I think that the police were right on the money to try and learn as much as they could about a suspect before making contact, for the safety of the police as well as the suspect! Yes, that means listening to their music and watching their videos.
    Lisa, your post rambles, much like mine, what is your point?

    Finally, “Snitches get Stitches!”

  8. Dirtgrain
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “I think that watching Knight Rider would be a great idea if David Hasselhoff were a known drug dealer and felon.”

    Okay.

  9. mark
    Posted April 26, 2007 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been informed that Ol’ EC tried to leave the following comment, but couldn’t:

    Monkeypowertrio lyric:

  10. Posted July 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Fuck you hoe ass bitch because someone sells drugs they shouldnt be killed everyone is given the rught to due process dumb ass can’t you understand police don’t have the right to judge you they just make the arrest but with david they tried and convicted david and sentenced him to death. and another damn thing rap is entertainment ass wipe do you beleive r kelly can fly and eminem climbs purple mountains idiot they say anything to sell the tough guy image. It is music do you think jimmy hendricks actually touched the sky? so you think snoop dogg is a pimp. you are one dumb ass!!! stop being so mutha fuckin scary pussy ass. thats why your kind never make it in the rap game. YOu are to damn scary

  11. Robert
    Posted July 8, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Hey Lisa, are you by any chance related to Edna Bell, the former Wayne County Commissioner? I used to work downtown there and remember Edna as a wonderful lady. She would have never ripped on Mark about his mutha fuckin scary pussy ass…at least not in public.

    Anyway, I have to agree with Lisa on one thing…Mark, your scary ass will never make it in the rap game.

    Keepin’ it surreal. – R

  12. cedric mills
    Posted January 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    david was not the man that every 1 thoughthe was (media) he was a good man i say the same shit he say but i dont rap im still living i dont see ice cube in the grave 4 say fuck the police or any other rapper that says that they sell drugs and have guns david had only 1 gun like every american male white/black has in their home fuck the police is what i say i got my ass beat cuz i was a blak man in my own home and told o well when i wanted 2 fight shit yall all can kiss my ass and go 2 hell in a hand basket i fell that way dont mean i am going 2 do sum10 stupid ill tell a nigga run he gots a better chance of living that way cuzz they was going 2 kill him any ways cuz of his music thats fuck up oh 2 whome it may concern i hustle drug and protect by any means and i have more pistols than i have issues i kill all u bitches what do u have 2 say about that ima comeback we still love u dizz we have not 4got

  13. cedric mills
    Posted January 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    david was not the man that every 1 thoughthe was (media) he was a good man i say the same shit he say but i dont rap im still living i dont see ice cube in the grave 4 say fuck the police or any other rapper that says that they sell drugs and have guns david had only 1 gun like every american male white/black has in their home fuck the police is what i say i got my ass beat cuz i was a blak man in my own home and told o well when i wanted 2 fight shit yall all can kiss my ass and go 2 hell in a hand basket i fell that way dont mean i am going 2 do sum10 stupid ill tell a nigga run he gots a better chance of living that way cuzz they was going 2 kill him any ways cuz of his music thats fuck up

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