Fight the Power: City Pays Man $7,500 After Cops Forced Him to Rap for Freedom

An ex-NYPD officer now wants to take orders instead of give orders.

An ex-NYPD officer now wants to take orders instead of give orders.

The New York Police Department has made several high-profile attempts over the past couple years to improve community relations. Its Stop and Frisk program has allowed cops to develop intimate physical relationships with several New Yorkers. That secret Muslim spying program brought the NYPD on a fun whitewater rafting trip with some local Muslim students. And in December 2011, two of New York’s finest initiated an impromptu cultural immersion program when they illegally entered a Brooklyn man’s home and forced his cousin to “show them some spits and bars” if he wanted to avoid arrest.

Fun, right? And it only cost the NYPD $11,500!

Quinshon Shingles, 28, filed a federal lawsuit after David Grieco and Joseph Patton, cops in Brooklyn’s 75th precinct, allegedly tricked the building’s super into giving them duplicate keys, entered the apartment without a warrant and cuffed the men inside. That’s when Mr. Shingles, whose rap moniker is Sauce Da Boss, was forced to rhyme for his rights.

“I felt like they were humiliating me,” Mr. Shingles told The New York Post on Tuesday. “They were all Caucasian officers, and I’m a black man, and they had me performing for my freedom. I was really upset.”

Mr. Shingles rapped for a full minute, mostly about weed, booze and women, before the cops determined the verse was “hot” enough let him go. Da Boss had the last word, though; the NYPD agreed to settle the lawsuit, and the city awarded Mr. Shingles $7,500. Donyale Kitchens, the tenant of the East New York apartment, accepted a $4,000 settlement.

It’s not entirely clear why Mr. Grieco and Mr. Patton entered the apartment in the first place. In the settlement, the city denied any wrongdoing. The lawsuit says Tyriek Fortune, the son of Ms. Kitchens and Mr. Shingles’ cousin, was suspected of a criminal offense, but it doesn’t specify what the alleged crime was.

It’s equally likely, though, that the cops just wanted to hear some dope rhymes. After all, the NYPD loves hip hop. It even had a “Rap Intelligence Unit” at one point. And it’s well-known that the hip-hop community loves cops.

Hopefully the cash will help Mr. Shingles’ budding rap career. But you know how it goes: mo money mo problems.