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Police Shut Down Anti-Violence Fundraiser Over Rapper's Hologram 298

An anonymous reader writes: A Chicago rapper by the name of Chief Keef has been making headlines recently after the city launched a campaign to deny his performance at an anti-violence event. The event was organized to raise funds for victims of recent Chicago murders in which another rapper was slain. Keef is currently wanted on warrants in the region but is living on the East Coast. He was expected to perform via a live stream projection. While Chicago officials worked to deny his performance from occurring in the city, promoters vowed that he would still perform.

A recent concert called Craze Fest was just held at the Wolf Lake Pavilion in Hammond, Indiana. The Pavilion is part of a public park. The city of Hammond refused to let promoters hold the event unless they agreed that Chief Keef would not be allowed to perform. Instead, the promoters setup a live stream projection of the rapper and showed it at the end of the concert. Once the Hologram of Keef began performing, police rushed in and began shutting down the event. This raises some interesting questions about free speech and the role of technology in it. Here's a local news article, and some brief cellphone footage of the event.
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Police Shut Down Anti-Violence Fundraiser Over Rapper's Hologram

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:03AM (#50188919)

    This doesn't raise any questions about freedom of speech. This demonstrates that freedom of speech doesn't exist.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2015 @10:11AM (#50189421)

      Because it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. If this rapper wants to speak in Chicago, why doesn't he just go there in person?

      Oh, that's right. He's a criminal, a fugitive and a deadbeat dad with multiple warrants out on him. Boo-hoo, how unfair that he's not being allowed to promote himself on city property.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2015 @12:03PM (#50190597)

        There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that restricts freedom of speech or the right to assemble only to those individuals of upstanding character, or denies these rights to individuals exhibiting some moral turpitude.

        • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @12:23PM (#50190779) Journal

          You are correct.

          There is also nothing in the constitution that says any entity must allow you to use their property at the exclusion of others in order to express your speech. That's what this is. They want to have a concert on public grounds that will in essence restrict other from freely using the same said grounds and the city said no if a wanted criminal and fugitive from law would be a party of it.

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            If the government imposes content-based restrictions on speech as a condition of issuing a permit, that's unambiguous government censorship. The exceptions in the US are few and narrow, and don't seem to apply here.

          • by physicsphairy ( 720718 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @08:53PM (#50194307) Homepage

            There is also nothing in the constitution that says any entity must allow you to use their property at the exclusion of others in order to express your speech.

            Correct. Only a government entity (such as the city) must allow you equal access to their public resources (such as this park) without using forceful intervention (such as sending in police) to suppress it.

            the city said no if a wanted criminal and fugitive from law would be a party of it.

            Free speech is about the speech, not the person speaking. Otherwise we should not have any problem, e.g., banning Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. After all, Marx is dead -- and was never a citizen -- so surely his right to free speech would not be infringed by the ban.

  • by jodido ( 1052890 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:03AM (#50188921)
    Perhaps someone who knows some law could explain under what authority the mayor or the cops can shut down a concert because they don't like one of the performers? Is this going to be the new normal? They'll shut down the next one because it "promotes terrorism"?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:06AM (#50188931)
      In this case, you need a permit to use the park. Their permit said that they would not have this wanted fugitive perform. They violated the terms of their permit, so were shut down. This is pretty straightforward and they had to know this would happen - they probably wanted the publicity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pla ( 258480 )
        Their permit said that they would not have this wanted fugitive perform. They violated the terms of their permit, so were shut down. This is pretty straightforward and they had to know this would happen - they probably wanted the publicity.

        Would the police also have shut them down if they started playing clips of Roman Polanski (wanted in the US for raping a 13 year old girl) movies?

        Sure, they can ban him from appearing. But "straightfoward", for effectively playing a movie by someone with an opinio
        • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:38AM (#50189127) Journal

          Yes. They could arrest him immediately on the warrants, which is separate. But as he did not physically appear, it amounts to needing pre-clearance from government, on content, to speak in a public forum, which a park is.

          And that is an easy win for the First Amendment. They should get nailed in a lawsuit.

          • Agreed. It clearly comes under federal purview, since he was in another state and using telecommunications. Imagine if the Hammond leadership decided it didn't like Bill Cosby and ordered the local TV stations and cable companies to block his TV shows and movies. This is the same thing.
        • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @10:40AM (#50189707)

          Would the police also have shut them down if they started playing clips of Roman Polanski (wanted in the US for raping a 13 year old girl) movies?

          If that was prohibited in the terms for the permit then yes. Not arguing if that is right or wrong but they could probably legally do it as long as they weren't stupidly clumsy about the whole thing.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It doesn't matter what the terms of the permit are; those terms are illegal. The government may only enact reasonable content-neutral restrictions on speech. Saying that a specific person cannot perform or a specific viewpoint cannot be expressed runs afoul of well-established First Amendment case law.

        • That's totally different, Polanski is white
      • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:48AM (#50189203)

        In this case, you need a permit to use the park. Their permit said that they would not have this wanted fugitive perform. They violated the terms of their permit, so were shut down. This is pretty straightforward and they had to know this would happen - they probably wanted the publicity.

        The restrictions in the permit were blatantly unconstitutional, therefore impermissable and unenforceable under US law. The city just set themselves up to be on the losing end of a lawsuit, if the promoter so chooses. If you don't believe, try washingtonpost.com and read the article and analysis. This is not a theoretical violation; the case law is well-settled, with the courts consistently banning these kinds of content-based restrictions on use of public space.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        It's a pretty straightforward ban on free speech. The supposed purpose of a permit on public land is to allow for appropriate planning on the government's part for the added crowd, avoiding conflict with other people's free speech when they have an event (by making them not happen on top of each other), and making sure the non-speech activities are legal (no smoke ins, narcotics sales, etc). That's all it is supposed to be. A permit that restricts speech is unconstitutional on it's face.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:16AM (#50188979) Homepage

      Honestly, these days the law seems to be "whatever the fuck the police say it is until a court tells them otherwise".

      They don't care what is legal. They don't care what is Constitutional. They seem to believe they have limitless magical powers unconstrained by reality.

      My only conclusion it is time to stop treating the cops as the ones who know and enforce the law. The cops enforce the law selectively, incorrectly, or in ways they know to be blatantly false.

      From demanding you stop recording them or delete images, to charging you with resisting arrest when you weren't being arrested in the first place ... the police seem to neither know nor care what the fucking law says.

      Which means all of them need to be wearing body cameras at all times, and much more aggressively charged when they break the law. Enough with this the police are above the law and can make it up as they go.

      Start putting more of them in prison with the rest of the crooks, and maybe we'll see change.

      But the last decade or so has pretty much demonstrated they simply do not adhere to the law. Either by committing perjury with "parallel construction" , or by hiding unconstitutional wiretaps with devices they won't admit to using ... the trend has been for police to stop giving a damn about the law.

      Which means it's time we stopped giving them the benefit of the doubt of being honest players. Increasingly, they're anything but.

      And since it's impossible to separate the good from the bad, and they won't do it themselves, it's time to treat them as if they all have a higher burden of proof for their actions.

      None of this "because we said so shit", because that usually gets proven false when the video comes out.

      • My only conclusion it is time to stop treating the cops as the ones who know and enforce the law.

        Actually, most folks are told part of that by lawyers, first and foremost. The police are not there to interpret laws, and most are not fully aware of them all. But then, that has never been their job. The police only exist for one reason: public safety. Their one job is to keep order and peace, and to forcibly detain those who violate said order and peace. That's it. So they do the enforcement part, but not the knowledge part of it.

        It is the job of prosecutors, judges, and juries to know the law - the pros

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by operagost ( 62405 )
          Funny, then, that citizens are supposed to know and understand every nuance of the law, lest they have their rights to liberty and property suspended.
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Then they should limit themselves to that. If one guy hands another money and the second guy gives the first guy a nondescript envelope, the peace has not been broken at all. But you better believe the cops will be questioning you about it in intense detail if they see it.

          • They can question all they want, but if the envelope is sealed, you can answer such questions with "get a warrant". They may arrest you, but unless they can get said warrant, they're specifically not allowed to know what's inside the thing.

            Now if there are complaints of blackmail going on and your name is attached to those complaints, or the envelope tests positive for narcotics, that's a different bucket of fish... but you gave no real details on the transaction, so "get a warrant if you want to know - oth

            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              And then the cops will snap the leash, the dog will bark, and they will claim that means you have narcotics on you. Then off to jail you go, having never breached the peace.

              This happens because they 'happen' to know that selling narcotics is illegal, not from any function of maintaining the peace.

      • The cops in this case were just doing their job, as prescribed by city of Hammond. Would you find a police force which selectively disobeys orders more to your taste? If you want something to start barking about take a look at the already sanctioned judicial overreach, such as laws that allow police to seize property on suspicion of narcotic offences, or indeed narcotics offences themselves. The police didn't write those laws, politicians and unsupervised-for-decades bureaucrats did.

      • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:56AM (#50189263) Journal

        The cops enforce the law selectively, incorrectly, or in ways they know to be blatantly false.

        Your rant is dead on, but the above portion of it is accurate in even more ways than you might suspect--for example, the Supreme Court recently said that it;s OK for a police officer to arrest you, because of something that he THINKS is illegal, even if it isn't, because (and to quote Dave Barry here, "I am not making this up") it is unreasonable to expect a police officer to know all the laws they are enforcing.

        So if you, Joe Citizen who has no training in law or any intersection with it, do something illegal that you did not know it was illegal, you can be charged, because "ignorance of the law is no excuse." If Joe Policeofficer arrests you for sitting on your lawn when that activity was perfectly legal, that's ok, because police can't be expected the know the law.

        Honestly, the US today is like Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller, and George Orwell all got together and wrote a manual called "How to Fuck Up Democracy" and some assholes in government made it required reading.

        • but that's exactly why we have a court system - to sort out what is and is not legal. Our "democracy" has created too many laws...that's what has fucked up the democracy and I'll agree with the courts that its not reasonable for police to know all the laws. Even lawyers don't know all the laws and that's their sole job. The real answer here is not to blame the individual police but to look for ways to change how they are lead. That means people need to pay attention to who they elect but that seems way
      • It's too many laws. One doesn't fit, they'll find another.

        And once they find one that fits well enough, than anything goes because resistance to enforcement of a law usually brings the full force of the law with it.

      • People who are inclined to become police in the first place are all too often people who are not primarily interested in law and order, but people who are interested in having power over as many people as humanly possible, and being police enables that. Screening processes are supposed to help weed out those types, but apparently it's either not working, or this type of personality is so deeply embedded in the police community that they're just ignoring all that and bringing in more and more people just lik
    • Cities generally require permits or licenses for things like concerts. Which means they can legally prevent a concert from occurring, just by refusing to issue the permit/license.

      Note that this sort of permit/license is justified under the theory that it requires extra city services to do this sort of thing - more cops, more street cleanup, etc.

      • by tranquilidad ( 1994300 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:33AM (#50189091)

        They can't deny a permit based on the content of the speech.

        Here's an excellent analysis and explanation by Eugene Volokh [washingtonpost.com].

      • Note that this sort of permit/license is justified under the theory that it requires extra city services to do this sort of thing - more cops, more street cleanup, etc.

        That's why we need participatory democracy. These days with everyone carrying smartphones all over the place it's easy enough to simply poll the populace as to what they want and then give it to them, as closely as possible. If people want festivals then the cops they're already paying for should make that happen, not find ways to stop it from happening. The whole point of public servants is to serve the will of the public.

      • Note that this sort of permit/license is justified under the theory that it requires extra city services to do this sort of thing - more cops, more street cleanup, etc.

        It's more than that. If you hold an event there are issues of public safety, sanitation, noise and other public nuisances, civil rights of other parties, other groups that may want the same space at the same time. There are practical issues of how to hold a safe and peaceful event and there are civil rights issues for the local residents and their expression of free speech and other rights. As a simple made up example, if a group decided to hold a loud gathering outside my home at 3 in the morning, shoul

    • Under the law, no one may prevent speech "because they don't like one of the performers." In practice, though, there are many legal reasons to regulate the "time, place and manner" of "free" speech. I don't know for certain, but I suspect some variation on "preventing criminal activity" qualifies.

      Remember, legal does not mean "just" or "good for society" or "morally righteous." It does, however, mean legal.

  • Next album title.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:07AM (#50188941) Journal

    Had he physically appeared, they could have arrested him as the warrants are independent of free speech. But you don't get to censor speech, even by people with warrants. Parks count as public fora with respect to speech.

    And as for "they agreed he would not perform" giving them leverage, that may work over the warrant issue, but as he did not physically appear, it amounts to needing to get pre-clearance from government on what you are going to speak about in a public forum, which is a no no. Good luck with that at the lawsuit trial.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meta-monkey ( 321000 )

      1) I think it was stupid to shut down somebody who, while he's had trouble, currently has a message of "stop the violence." The warrants for his arrest are about child support, not violence. Having a warrant does not negate your right to speech.

      2) The issue for me would be the language of the permit. You want to do it on private property? No problem. But it is reasonable for a city to determine what acts may and may not perform on public property. So, did the permit say "these are the acts that will perfor

    • Next time, he should just do like the KISS band, and encourage lookalikes to perform as well. A bunch of wigs with dreadlocks shouldn't cost that much. While the "hologram" idea makes a good South Park joke, live performances from (both bad and sometimes good) imitators are a lot more fun.

  • by FilmedInNoir ( 1392323 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:07AM (#50188945)
    They spent 3 hours trying to pepper spray, Taser, tackle, and finally shoot the hologram.
    The police chief is requesting an increase in the budget for the purchase of weapons to deal with holograms.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:07AM (#50188947) Homepage

    In a world where we have "free speech zones" miles from events, and jack booted thugs called police that are too much of pussies to deal with crime instead of being assholes you dont get free speech.

    Unless you are rich enough to cause the police problems. Then you can have some.

  • The justification (Score:5, Informative)

    by j ( 2547 ) * on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:14AM (#50188969) Homepage

    The victim the concert was fundraising for was the child of another member of Keef's gang, who was killed as an opposing gang fled after shooting and killing Keef's crewman Cato. The city were very concerned the concert would turn into a gang shoot-out. This isn't about censorship of violent lyrics (although it's a "poster child" case), it's about preventing the imminent incitement of violence. Judge the situation as you will, just take into account it wasn't lyrical censorship.

    • Re:The justification (Score:5, Informative)

      by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:26AM (#50189029)
      It is prior restraint on speech. This is generally unconstitutional.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, it is prior restraint on a known fugitive. If he wants to violate and then evade the law, as far as I'm concerned he's just another version of an illegal - doesn't have the brass to turn himself in and face the consequences of being a citizen of this country. If he can't do that, then he doesn't deserve freedom of speech, either. There's nothing in the Constitution that provides for freedom to ignore the law without consequences. You know why he's evading the law? He got a DUI over a year ago. He

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You don't lose your right to free speech - even when convicted and imprisoned. Nice try.

          • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

            Lose completely? Mostly no. Suffer severe constraints on many of your guaranteed freedoms? Yes. That's the entire point of judicial system. You lose many of your guaranteed freedoms based on your illegal actions that harmed the community.

            Unless you think that all those people in jails are having many of their constitutional rights directly violated by the state as well.

    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      It amazes me how many rappers are gang-bangers first, and "musicians" second. So many of them put their loyalty to "the gang life" above everything else. :(

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

        It amazes me how many rappers are gang-bangers first, and "musicians" second.

        Your amazement is a sign of privilege.

        • Moderation -1
              40% Flamebait
              30% Troll
              30% Insightful

          It's flamebaiting to point out privilege? It's trolling to point out privilege? I can see that the white males are getting all the modpoints today.

          FWIW I consider myself to be a "white hispanic" ... HTH you make more knee-jerk reactions, kids

          • by Cederic ( 9623 )

            Using the word 'privilege' is a troll in itself.

            What the fuck _is_ privilege? What the fuck do you know about the person to whom you used it as a slur? How the fuck is being surprised that a class of musicians don't prioritise their art any form of fucking alleged privilege anyway?

            You were trolling, and flaming the person to whom you responded. The bit that I'm amazed at is that you got any insightful mods.

  • Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:18AM (#50188987) Homepage Journal
    How ironic. You invite a known instigator of violence to an anti-violence concert.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You invite a known instigator of violence...

      You must be referring to the police, considering the number of unarmed men they kill each year.

  • Because absolutely nothing will do more for a rapper's reputation and music sales than to have some idiot police chief stop a performance because he didn't like the lyrics that the rapper had used PREVIOUSLY.
  • by moosehooey ( 953907 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:26AM (#50189039)

    This looks like just a 2D video. Maybe it was projected on a partially-transparent screen (I can't tell from the video), but I seriously doubt they were using voxels instead of pixels.

  • In case anyone was wondering what this rapper, Chief Keef, is wanted for? He failed to show up for a pretrial hearing for a DUI charge [bet.com] (because he was working in California?).

    While a DUI charge is serious and failing to show up for a court date is too, this does seem like an overreaction from the city and the police.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:30AM (#50189071) Homepage
    hes missed 4-5 performances in the last 3 years and has been sued by multiple people, including a promotions group, for missing them. He was once booked to perform in London England, and mysteriously never showed up. Clearly the 3d holography software was more a more punctual choice.

    imo Keef is targeted by nearly every barney fife in america because hes guilty of 'contempt of cop.' his violations include failing to notify for change of address during parole, and making a video at a gun range. The state keeps him floating in and out of a revolving prison door largely for parole violations like testing positive for marijuana, marijuana DUI's, and general hooligan behavior. Hes no Bieber, so his 110mph speeding charge sent him to jail as well.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 27, 2015 @09:58AM (#50189277)

      imo Keef is targeted by nearly every barney fife in america because hes guilty of 'contempt of cop.'

      As well as a number of felonies, apparently.

      his violations include failing to notify for change of address during parole,

      Well,yes. That's one of the conditions of parole, you keep the state informed of where you live & work.
      (In fact, you usually need to get *permission* to move while you're on parole.)

      and making a video at a gun range.

      He's a convicted felon, it's a felony for him to *hold* a gun. He made the video providing definitive proof of him committing said felony.

      The state keeps him floating in and out of a revolving prison door largely for parole violations like testing positive for marijuana,

      Stupid.

      marijuana DUI's,

      Extra stupid.

      and general hooligan behavior. Hes no Bieber, so his 110mph speeding charge sent him to jail as well.

      110 in a 55 zone. Within minutes of the trial for that particular bit of idiocy, he racked up a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

      Perhaps he'd be better served actually staying in prison, since he can't seem to abide by the law, with a number of additional convictions and parole violations between his 1st felony conviction (January 2011, age 15) and June 2013.

      I stand by my prior statement. The Chicago PD should have been *thrilled* to have him show up to perform at the concert. They'd know where he was, and be able to arrest him on the outstanding warrant(s). Sounds like *everyone* involved is dumber than a box of flat, wet rocks.

    • Clearly the 3d holography

      OT, but that's marketing hype. It's neither 3d nor holographic.

    • No doubt he'd end up in jail for failing to indicate a lane change when he thought it'd be a good idea to get out of the way of the patrol car that was rapidly approaching from behind too. Some people just don't seem to have much luck with the police in the US for some reason I just can't fathom.
  • by ComputerGeek01 ( 1182793 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @10:35AM (#50189661)

    Allow his hologram to appear at the event and give his little performance then garnish his wages from the venue. If he wants to complain he can drive his happy ass to Chicago, walk into any courthouse and fill out the required forms. That way you make the issue clear, it's not about free speech or censorship; it's about the suspension of his right to generate revenue in a city where he is a wanted criminal. That way the people get the concert they paid for, the venue keeps its reputation and none of their equipment gets smashed and the only person who loses is the degenerate that is constantly causing trouble for the city. But instead we have this crap where they drag everyone involved into the situation and create a ton of extra work for themselves. What the heck? It's like they're not lazy enough to run a city properly.

  • Perhaps the police could put a picture of a jail next to the hologram of Chief Keef. That's consistent with the logic being used by police.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @11:37AM (#50190315)
    Free speech involves two elements. One is the right to speak. The other element which is less understood is the right to hear the speech. The action was dead wrong as the artist involved could have been shown in a past performance before he was a fugitive and even if a fugitive he has not been convicted of a crime unless he broke parole or escaped from jail. I can see no way to ban a performance without being able to prove that the performance had been made while a convicted criminal was on the run and maybe not even then. The second part of the problem is the lousy judgement of the city in taking this action. A concert against violence,one would think, would receive huge support from any city. It makes the city look like a fool which should be against public policy. It is the equivalent of the city sponsoring a campaign for more illegal violence.
  • Errrrrrrr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Monday July 27, 2015 @11:44AM (#50190417)
    As much as I dislike Chief Keef and his musical stylings *cough*, I have to side with him on this one. Should an arrest warrant also restrict a person's free speech, or justify police intervention? I have to think it should not, regardless of how I feel about the person.

    If we don't protect the speech we don't like, then it's not "free speech" as I understand it. The fact is that we must protect the kind of speech we personally detest if it's to mean anything at all.
  • Doesn't look like any question were raised here. The constitutional violation appear obvious.
    The event is an obvious public forum, because lots of people are expressing themselves there.
    Only compelling governmental reasons can allow the restriction of speech in a public forum and any such restriction will be looked at by the courts with "strict scrutiny."
    Having a warrant outstanding is a stupid reason to shut someone off from public speech.

    This so obviously bad, either (a) the City's lawyer is an absolute

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