An attorney representing two LAPD officers who fatally shot a man on Saturday night is claiming that a really dumb stunt video by ’90s rap group Brownside is at least partially responsible, The Los Angeles Times reports. The 15-second clip, which was posted on Instagram but has since been removed — you can watch it here — shows someone flashing a gun in a car behind a police cruiser in downtown LA. It began circulating on social media on Monday, but police became aware of it and launched an investigation last Thursday. Fearing it was intended as a threat, LAPD officials reportedly briefed officers about the recording and warned them to be on alert and ready for an ambush, and patrol officers who typically drive alone were instructed to ride in pairs.
On Saturday night, two officers were stopped at a red light in their cruiser when a man walked up behind them and threw a 40-ounce beer bottle, shattering the car’s back window. The officers immediately bailed out of the car and opened fire, killing the man, who was later determined to be unarmed. Due to a discussion of the video at a roll call meeting earlier that day, their attorney, Gary Fullerton, says, “When the window got blown out, they looked at each other and said, ‘We’re being shot at.'” Fullerton also says that, following the shooting, the officers told investigators that they thought they were being attacked because of the video.
Yesterday, however, the LAPD revealed that they now believe that the video was not intended as a threat but rather to promote the rap group Brownside, who attracted some attention in the early ’90s after signing to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. “We don’t see a specific threat against any police officer,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced. “We believe, based on interviews, that the video was made not as a precursor to an attack on a police officer, but in a manner to support the credibility of the person in the video for a rap career.” According to The Daily News, the LAPD also threw some shade at the group in a press release, calling them “an early 1990s rap group no longer in fashion” trying to “ignite a comeback.” Although Brownside rapper Klever claims on Instagram that the handgun was only a prop, a warrant has been issued for his arrest, and a “secondary suspect” thought to be involved was arrested over the weekend on an outstanding warrant.
The name of the shooting victim has not yet been released. He was the 18th person shot and killed by LAPD officers this year.