Skip Navigation

Court says rap video was threat to police, not free speech


(Harrisburg) — Pennsylvania’s highest state court is upholding the conviction of a rapper for threatening police, saying lyrics that named two Pittsburgh officers were “highly personalized.”

Supreme Court justices ruled Tuesday that lyrics in the song Jamal Knox recorded after being arrested on drug charges weren’t protected by free speech rights.

An officer found a YouTube video in 2012 of the 24-year-old Knox performing a song with a three-word title that ends, “the Police.” That prompted charges of witness intimidation and terroristic threats.

Knox argued the song was strictly artistic in nature and he didn’t intend to threaten police or have the video released publicly.

But the court’s ruling says Knox selectively targeted the officers in response to their prior interactions.

Knox’s lawyer offered no immediate comment.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Regional & State News

Wagner says he doesn't want workers knowing what he makes