Mos Def spokeswoman chides N.Y. police


A spokeswoman for rapper Mos Def said police overreacted when they ticketed him for an impromptu performance outside the MTV Video Music Awards this week.

Police officers patrolling the event issued the performer a summons for operating a sound system without a permit Thursday after he arrived at Radio City Music Hall in a pickup truck and hastily set up a portable stage.

He was a few verses into his 2005 song “Katrina Clap,” which criticizes President Bush’s handling of the hurricane, when officers made him stop.

“As soon as he was made aware of the police presence, he shut everything down,” said Carleen Donovan, a spokeswoman for the rapper and actor. “His staff and team were willing to comply as well, but the police overreacted.”

The 10 p.m. performance by the 32-year-old rapper and actor, born Dante Terrell Smith, wasn’t a scheduled part of MTV’s festivities.

New York law allows people to sing in public but requires anyone using loud amplifiers to get a permit first.

“Mos Def did not set out to get arrested or break laws,” Donovan said. “His only intention was to remind people that after one year, the people hardest hit by Katrina still need the support of all Americans.”

Police said Mos Def still got to attend the awards show.

Credit: AP

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