Appearing in a rap video has cost two lawyers their jobs.
Just days after a New York City Department of Investigation released a report criticizing Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli for appearing in Maino and Unlce Murda's "Hands Up" music video, the lawyers have been forced to resign, according to The New York Times.
The two worked for Bronx Defenders, a non-profit commissioned by NYC to represent individuals throughout that borough, but came under fire recently for their appearance in the visuals for the protest song, which had lyrical references to violence against police officers.
In turn, the DOI launched an investigation in December, roughly a week after the video first dropped, into the involvement of the firm and its employees. In addition to the resignations, the executive director of Bronx Defenders, Robin Steinberg, was hit with a 60-day, unpaid suspension.
Despite the fallout, Rao said that the video, and his and his co-worker's participation in it -- which came on the heels of the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island and a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer involved -- came from a noble place.
“This wasn’t some sort of nefarious project,” he said. “This was designed to be fully about raising awareness in the community about the kinds of legal services that an office like ours could provide for people affected by this issue.”
In his report, DOI commissioner Mark G. Peters didn't seem to give credit to that intent.
“Advocating the killing of police officers is unacceptable and offensive,” he wrote. “These attorneys have abysmally failed to meet their obligations to their clients, to the courts and to the city as a whole.”
The Bronx Defenders, meanwhile, following the resignations, said in a statement that it, “looks forward to continuing to do what we do best -- providing zealous and compassionate legal representation and advocacy on behalf of 35,000 indigent residents annually.”