Two lawyers who arranged for their criminal defense firm to be featured in a music video calling for the killing of police officers have resigned, according to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli, employees with The Bronx Defenders, resigned Wednesday, the department said. The organization’s executive director has also been suspended for 60 days without pay and the organization will conduct mandatory training for employees and a review of its senior leadership and control structure.
The Bronx Defenders, a criminal defense firm that receives about $20 million every year in public funding from the city, let rappers Uncle Murda and Maino shoot portions of their “Hands Up” music video in their offices near Yankee Stadium and then tried to cover up its involvement, according to the city’s Department of Investigation.
In the video, artists rap that it’s “time to start killing these coppers” and point guns at a man dressed as an NYPD officer.
The video, which was posted on YouTube by World Star Hip Hop in December after grand juries on Staten Island and in Ferguson, Missouri, decided not to charge officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, shows several shots inside The Bronx Defenders offices and features two of the legal firm’s attorneys, the DOI said.
Credits at the end of the video list The Bronx Defenders as its sponsor.
In a statement, The Bronx Defenders said it never approved the music video and never saw it before it went online. The group said it "deeply regrets" any involvement with the production.