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Ice-T concert canceled because Pittsburgh police won't work at show

PITTSBURGH -- A concert by rapper Ice-T scheduled for Dec. 22 has been canceled because Pittsburgh police refuse to work at a show by the performer who wrote and sang the controversial song 'Cop Killer.'

Robin Fernandez, managing partner of Metropol where the concert was to be held, said the show effectively was killed when police refused to work because the nightclub is legally required to hire at least two off- duty officers for stage shows.

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But Fernandez said he didn't feel pressured by police to tell the show's promoter, Next Big Thing Productions, it couldn't use Metropol. Fernandez said it was a business decision based in part on his support of Pittsburgh police officers, who he said have supported him.

Fernandez said he was told informally by a police officer that the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing Pittsburgh police officers, was opposed to the show.

'I said, 'If they don't appreciate the fact of us doing a show, I won't hold the show here,'' Fernandez said. 'This show is not important enough to me to jeopardize my relationship with the city, the city police or the FOP. If I really wanted to, I could have found a couple police officers to work the show.'

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A spokesman for the FOP declined to comment.

Vic Walczek, director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, she he is troubled by the intolerance of police officers in Pittsburgh and across the country to Ice-T, which he said is a reaction that amounts to censorship.

'As off-duty officers, I don't think they can be forced to work where they don't want to work, if they find something offensive,' said Walczek. 'But the fact that the city has created this obligation for (Metropol), they're effectively giving the officers the power to dictate who plays here and who doesn't.'

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