Four New Jersey police officers face internal affairs charges because of rap videos they appeared in while off duty.
Irvington Police Director Joseph Santiago tells The Star-Ledger that Maurice Gattison, president of the city's police union, and three other decorated officers were recently charged with conduct unbecoming a police officer. If found guilty, they could lose their jobs.
Gattison is an 18-year veteran of the force who performs under the name “Gat the Great.”
The video for the song “Temper Like an Alcoholic” features him rapping homophobic lyrics and promoting violence. In another video, Gattison refers to himself as a “felon for life."
Gattison has downplayed the controversy, saying his use of homophobic lyrics was not meant to be derogatory.
“When I say the words, I never say it like intending to slander anybody. I've never used that term like that in my whole life,” he told the newspaper. “They don't have nothing. My career is impeccable. I do my job.”
Some city officials and critics have called for the officers to be fired. But others say Garrison's lyrics could be protected under the First Amendment.
“If they lose their jobs, that's life,” said City Councilman David Lyons, who believes some of Gattison's lyrics could compromise his police duties. “I think police officers need to take responsibility for their actions and they should have thought about the consequences before they took those actions.”
Gattison scoffed at the criticism he's received.
“Anyone who thinks I should be fired is an idiot,” he said.