NYPD Commissioner Blames T.I. Concert Shooting on "So-Called Rap Artists, Who Are Basically Thugs"

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Bill Bratton

"Violence often manifests itself during the performances, and that's exactly what happened last evening," Bill Bratton said in part on WCBS 880 this morning.

After four people were shot — one dead, three injured, according to police — last night at Irving Plaza in New York City just before T.I. hit the stage, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton had some harsh words.

"The crazy world of the so-called rap artists, who are basically thugs that basically celebrate the violence they've lived all their lives. And unfortunately that violence often manifests itself during the performances, and that’s exactly what happened last evening," he said on WCBS 880 this morning.

The incident took place in the backstage area in a green room on the third floor while Brooklyn rappers Maino and Uncle Murda were onstage opening for T.I., reports say, with another Brooklyn rapper, Troy Ave, among those injured in the shooting.

Police said it was unclear how the assailant was able to enter the venue with a weapon, though the fact it happened backstage suggests the assailant was associated with one of the performers and entered via a VIP entrance. Troy Ave is reportedly in good condition as of this morning, while the other two victims are in stable condition. A 33-year-old male was pronounced dead after suffering a gunshot wound to the stomach. The victim was reportedly Ronald McPhatter, aka Banga, Troy Ave's longtime bodyguard. 

The shooting and Bratton's comments come amid criticism of his department for its treatment of another Brooklyn rapper, Bobby Shmurda, who was arrested in December 2014 on a litany of drug and conspiracy charges and is still awaiting trial 526 days later. Shmurda's lyrics have come under scrutiny in the press following his arrest despite his repeated claims that his songs are fiction, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court and other judicial bodies ruling again and again that rap lyrics cannot be used against an individual in a court of law.

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.