Watch CBS News

2 Bronx Defenders Resign Following Participation In Anti-Cop Music Video

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - The two lawyers at a nonprofit who appeared in an anti-police music video called "Hands Up" have resigned from the legal agency, according to the mayor's office.

A city investigation found that attorneys – their salaries paid for with city tax dollars – participated in the video and allowed The Bronx Defenders' offices to be used in the filming despite knowing the song's message. The Bronx public defenders who appeared were identified as Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli.

Rao sent a resignation to the Bronx Defenders on Friday. His lawyer announced the resignation Wednesday. Rao says in the letter he is "heartbroken'' to leave the agency. He regrets his involvement with the video and said he should have better vetted and put in writing that Bronx Defenders would have the right to edit.

2 Bronx Defenders Resign Following Participation In Anti-Cop Music Video

The city report said the executive director of the Bronx Defenders, Robin Steinberg, bore some responsibility for misleading statements after the fact. She is suspended for 60 days without pay, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

"If any of the employees are doing something that goes against all of our values — that suggests something horrible — violence against police – there have to be real consequences," de Blasio said in January.

The film was released in December, just two weeks before the murders of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. It includes images of guns held to a police officer's head. Scenes were filmed inside the nonprofit's offices.

WARNING: Video includes explicit language and violent imagery.

Uncle Murda & Maino "Hands Up" (Eric Garner Tribute) (WSHH Premiere - Official Music Video) by WORLDSTARHIPHOP on YouTube

The agency receives $20 million in city funding and Mayor Bill de Blasio called the findings of a city investigation that exposed the link "deeply disturbing.''

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.