A video from Grammy award-winning artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith has gained much attention after he revealed he was mistreated by the Chicago Police Department.
The rapper said that he was robbed at gunpoint while sitting in his car. After the thief stole his wallet, Smith went to his local police station to report the crime.
”When I first walked in, I don’t even feel like they saw me,” he told CNN host Carol Costello in the video above on Monday. He explained that the woman he first spoke with kept eating and playing Candy Crush while he was trying to report the crime. He said he “started to feel patronized” after an officer told him to put his hands on the table and commented, “You still have your phone, he must’ve not been that good of a robber.”
Smith told the host that when he asked to speak to a superior, the two women said that he couldn’t. The sergeant, with whom he’s speaking to in the video he posted on Twitter, was in the room during the dispute.
When the sergeant spoke to Smith, he told the artist that the two women were who he needed to talk to about filing the report or “get the ‘f’ out of the police station.”
That’s when the rapper said he decided to turn on his camera to record the experience.
“When I turned the camera on, the police became more concerned with the camera then they did the crime. At that point, I felt like I’d gotten robbed twice that day. I’d gotten robbed for $3 by a robber who put a gun to my head and took my wallet but I also got robbed of my tax dollars from the Chicago Police Department,” he said on CNN.
In the 2-minute video, which he posted to Twitter Saturday, a woman behind the desk tells Smith he can’t record in the station and asked him to leave. He declined and said, “When the camera goes off, you all start telling me to get out, I can’t make a report.”
The officer eventually tells the rapper that he can file a report.
“You wonder [why] we don’t report crimes? The police treated me disgustingly,” he wrote in a tweet that he posted with the video, which had more than 2,000 retweets as of Tuesday afternoon.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmo responded to his tweet with an apology.
Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller also reached out to the artist via phone call to apologize. Superintendent Eddie Johnson told Waller to address the incident with the officers in the recording, according to CBS Chicago. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also addressed the issue during a press conference, saying he’ll “guarantee they won’t treat another resident like this.”
The rapper told CNN that he hasn’t “even dealt with the trauma of a gun pointed at me because I’m trying to fix how can I respond as a citizen.”
Smith said that decades of a disinvestment into the community, in addition to most citizens being perceived as a threat, have contributed to the prevention of residents and Chicago police from coming together. But he said he wants that to change.
“What I want to make sure is that the apology doesn’t just go to the Grammy award-winner or Che Smith, that the apology goes to Joe Smith, to John Smith who’s also tried to make a report,” he told CNN. “We expect more for our taxes.”
As far as justice, Smith is seeking it himself. He tweeted that he’s not mad, but hurt. He also said that he had the power to give the robber a job. He tweeted that he wants the culprit to reach out to him.
Smith released a song on Monday in response to his experience called “#CopsNRobbers.” On the song he raps “cops and robbers, you can’t tell who’s who, that’s the problem.”
Listen to Rhymefest’s “#CopsNRobbers” below.