(AllHipHop News) Eight rappers that sell their CDs in New York’s Times Square are suing the city and the police department for violating their first amendment rights.
The Daily News reports New York City and 17 police officers were named in a joint lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court. The plaintiffs accuse the cops of unfairly targeting them and arresting them without cause.
“They don’t want us making money out here,” said Bronx rapper Andre Jackson. “I’ve been arrested over 30 times.”
The rappers are typically charged with disorderly conduct and aggressive begging, but most of the time the cases are dismissed. Some have pled guilty so that they can be released from jail quickly. They claim other vendors in the same area do not get harassed by the police on the same level as they do.
“I want it to stop,” said Jackson. “They never arrest the spray-paint guys. They never arrest the guys who draw pictures of people. That’s considered art? My music should be considered art too.”
The lawsuits were originally filed separately in 2013, but have since been combined into one case. The rap vendors are being represented by former city attorney Katie Smith.
The city responded to accusations that the rappers in Times Square are purposely being targeted by NYPD by stating, “allegations are merely such until proven otherwise.”