First there was N.W.A's "F--- tha Police," then Body Count's "Cop Killer." Now there's G Rival.
At the request of "America's Toughest Sheriff," Tower Records has pulled copies of the album The Anti-Police Experience by the little-known Arizona rapper from the shelves of one of its Phoenix-area stores.
The disc finds 32-year-old rapper G Rival, a former inmate born Gary Barocsi, fantasizing about torturing and beheading cops. On one track, he raps, "Good cop, dead cop/ Wanna see those pigs face down in the slop." On another, he questions the sexual orientation of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has attracted national media attention
and gained the tag "America's Toughest Sheriff" for such antics as creating a chain gang in the Phoenix area and forcing prisoners to wear pink underwear. The album's sleeve bears a drawing of Arpaio in a sexual position with a dog.
Arpaio first learned of the record's existence when a TV crew brought it to his attention during an interview. On Tuesday, he wrote a letter to Tower execs in which he expressed his disgust and urged the retailer to cease sales of it immediately. He charged that, by carrying the album, Tower was encouraging "a message which openly advocates violent,
lawless anarchy in a most grotesque fashion."
The album was pulled from Tower shelves Wednesday. Nicolas L. Thakar, the retailer's vice president and senior counsel, apologized in a written response to Arpaio and plans to make a $100 donation to the Youth Assistance Foundation (a charity recommended by the sheriff's office) as a goodwill gesture. "While Tower recognizes and respects the First Amendment rights to free expression," Thakar wrote, "we also recognize that we must be responsible members of the community. That responsibility certainly does not include promoting violence against any group or individual, whether private citizen or respected public official."
Concerned about anti-free speech sentiments the move might suggest, Thakar claimed this particular album was yanked because "it was a personal attack on an individual, with threats against him and the police community. We don't think that's appropriate."
Four copies of the locally produced disc were put on consignment at one of Tower's Phoenix-area stores, where two were sold. The other Phoenix Tower store was not selling the disc. Other local retailers continue to offer the title.
Barocsi, who has served time for arson, aggravated assault and misconduct involving weapons, could not be reached for comment.
Arpaio, 71, boasts that he's grown accustomed to being both insulted and threatened. During the past year alone, he said, 12 people have been convicted for making death threats against him. Regarding the G Rival disc, he said, "I think you cross the line when you threaten to kill cops, because what's next? Are you going to threaten to kill teachers? Are you going to threaten doctors? There must be some restrictions in this country somewhere."
He called Barocsi a "punk" and referred to the album as "garbage" and an "affront against all law enforcement."