Pittsburgh Supreme Court Shoots Down Rapper's Free Speech Appeal
After Mayhem Mal was arrested for anti-cop lyrics, the state Supreme Court said his music video was a threat to Pittsburgh police, not free speech.
In 2014, Pittsburgh rapper Jamal Knox , also known as Mayhem Mal, was sentenced to prison for recording and publishing an anti-cop track called “Fuck the Police.”
In 2017, after his conviction, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the appeal that his work is protected by the free speech in the First Amendment.
Now, the 24-year-old rapper lost an appeal on Tuesday when Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court called Knox’s lyrics “threatening and highly personalized” and ruled that they were not protected by free speech rights, but were instead a threat to police.
The court turned down the appeal of his conviction for witness intimidation and terroristic threats for his video where he named two Pittsburgh officers.
The justices said the rapper described how he intended to kill the two officers in the song.
Knox was awaiting trial when an officer found a YouTube video in 2012 of the song. Knox argued the song was strictly artistic and not intended as a threat to police. He also denied posting it and said he did not intend for it to be disseminated publicly.
The song, includes the lines: “I got my Glock and best believe dog gonna bring the pump out and I’m hittin’ your chest,” as well as, “Let’s kill these cops ‘cause they don’t do us no good.”
It also references Richard Poplawski, who is on death row for the 2009 murder of three Pittsburgh police officers.
The video was reportedly taken down from YouTube after three days.
According to AP, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office declined to comment, saying the decision had not been fully reviewed.
Source: Associated Press