SAN BERNARDINO – The police union has withdrawn its endorsement of Anthony Jones in his run-off campaign for City Council after it received music videos in which Jones raps lyrics that that they say glorify crime and violence and denigrate women.
“This is unacceptable to us,” said Steve Turner, president of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, in a written statement. “Whether or not Mr. Jones actually believes the lyrics of the songs in question is not the issue. The fact that he would be a part of such videos shows an incredible lack of judgment on his part.”
Jones, 23, said he was singing a rap song for fun, and said it was an “amoral” campaign attack by the incumbent he’s running against and a distraction from real issues.
“I’m a young black man raised in San Bernardino. Perhaps Fred Shorett feels that’s something for which I
owe an apology to this community,” Jones said in an email and on Facebook. “So here it is. I’m sorry that I did not sing Mack the Knife. I’m sorry that the video wasn’t me covering Garth Brooks’ Papa Loved Mama (“Mama’s in the graveyard, Papa’s in the pen”). I’m sorry that I wasn’t acting out one of the nine murders committed in Hamlet, or any of the illegal acts portrayed by Robert Redford, Paul Newman and the rest of the cast of The Sting.”
Shorett said he never hinted that Jones should apologize for anything, but thought this was one of many things people should know about Jones.
“This asking him to apologize for being a young black man I don’t get,” he said. “I don’t know anything about that. He’s doing ganster rap. … I don’t know if the voters want to elect a 23-year-old gangster rapper, but that’s for them to decide.”
Turner, who’s black, said he wasn’t sure there was any racial component.
“It’s just really easy to turn to race because it’s such a hotbed topic, and unless I’m sure that a person is trying to make a racial issue then I don’t try to get in their head,” Turner said. “I honestly don’t believe those rap songs truly represent who Anthony is, but in this case as well I have to take it at face value. It certainly goes against the grain of what the Police Officers Association stands for, and so unfortunately we can’t continue to stand side-by-side with him.”
Jones, in a phone conversation Tuesday night, said losing the endorsement wouldn’t affect his priorities.
“As far as the POA withdrawing their endorsement, that’s fine, because I’m not running for public safety,” he said. “I’m running to restore the quality of life for residents — which includes public safety, even if they don’t endorse me any more.”
In the video Shorett supplied, two rappers at recognizable places in San Bernardino are identified as Yah Boy Money — Jones — and LoLo.
“I ain’t worried about the haters,” says one line. “(Expletive) my enemies, I put the 4-5 (.45 caliber gun) straight to their memory.”
The two rappers then make the sign of a gun as a gunshot sound effect is heard.
Another song, “Good Man Gone,” also features Jones.
“B**** caught up in the moment and the pillow times, but in a flash I have her back in the welfare lines,” he raps.
Shorett said he’d previously seen a video and supported the police union’s decision. He said he was now calling on the fire union, Jones’ main backer, to do the same.
Recent history has shown the Police Officers Association to be visible and prompt about withdrawing its endorsements.
The union sent out a news release the day Councilman Robert Jenkins was charged withdrawing its endorsement of the incumbent, who lost his re-election bid.
Shorett garnered just shy of the 50 percent total required to win outright and is slated to compete against Jones in a run-off election Feb. 4.