The NYPD's top cop called rap artists "basically thugs" a day after a shooting at a hip-hop concert left one person dead and three others injured.
In an interview Thursday with WCBS radio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton cited "the crazy world of these so-called rap artists who are basically thugs that basically celebrate violence they did all their lives."
He added, "Unfortunately, that violence often times manifests itself during their performances."
Shots rang out Wednesday night at a venue where rapper T.I. was getting ready to perform. Performers Maino and Uncle Murda were on stage at the time.
Bratton says even after rappers become famous, they "continue hanging out with the same people they hung out with when they came out of that world of desperation, poverty, and crime."
That prompted an angry response from McPhatter's relatives and a city lawmaker, who derided the comments as insensitive and divisive.
"When white people are doing this violence, I don't hear the same language being used," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat who said he had worked with the McPhatter brothers on anti-violence initiatives.
Police have charged Brooklyn rapper Ronald Collins, who goes by the stage name Troy Ave, in the shooting at Irving Plaza, near Union Square. Collins himself was injured, along with two others, and Collins' bodyguard Ronald McPhatter died of a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Authorities said the shots were fired amid a fistfight at about 10 p.m.