Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gipson says it’s unfortunate that critics are connecting an event to honor artist Jay Rock with the burial of murdered Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan was gunned down June 19th while responding to a disturbance at a home in north Sacramento.
Rock is known for his song, “Fuck the Police”, which includes references to police officers as bitches and hoes. Some members of the Assembly voiced concerns yesterday that Rock was being honored in the State Capitol on the same day and time as an officer was being buried across town.
Gipson says one has nothing to do with the other. Gipson says Rock has given time and money to the Watts community and Rock deserves the recognition.
Gipson says he used to be an officer in Maywood and his partner was shot and killed in the line duty. Gipson says since that day he’s been unable to attend an officer’s funeral. The Maywood Police Department has since folded and the area is now patrolled by the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
Gipson spoke yesterday to my colleague Joe Michaels from our sister station KFBK-AM in Sacramento. As Michaels tried to keep Gipson on topic, the Assemblyman detoured to discuss the recent death of LA County Sheriff Deputy Joe Solano, and then pivoted to speak about his gun control legislation and efforts to stop certain people from owning weapons.
When Gipson was asked again about Rock’s lyrics Gipson said, like himself, maybe Rock has changed since that song was written and those lyrics were based on Rock’s own experiences growing up in Watts, though Gipson said he chose a different path and didn’t necessarily agree with Rock’s lyrics. Gipson also added that he was never aware of the song and lyrics. He says they were brought to his attention for the first time yesterday. He also says Rock had been scheduled to appear months ago and it was too late to ‘un-ring the bell’.
It was difficult to get any lawmakers to individually comment on the record – they told me they feared political retribution, but I did receive this statement last night from Deputy Whip Devon Mathis:
“This is what’s wrong with California. At a time when cops around the state are literally under attack, radical politicians think it’s OK to celebrate someone who got famous by advocating for violence against police officers. Inviting Jay Rock onto the Assembly floor the same day Sacramento is laying to rest an officer who gave her life in the line of duty is tone-deaf and offensive. The law enforcement community and the Californians who support them deserve an apology.”
Gipson is the Assemblymember for the 64th District which represents portions of Compton and the South Bay.
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Photos: Getty Images & CA Assembly