If he wants to remain an ambassador to Toronto and keep the key to the city Mayor John Tory bestowed upon him, rapper Drake must decide if he’s pro law and order or pro crime, the Toronto Police Association president says.
Toronto’s chief of police also weighed in Saturday, saying the move potentially raises “real concerns” over the music sensation’s values.
All this was in reaction to a Sun about an Instagram photo of the superstar performer wearing a Hells Angels supporter hoodie.
TPA boss Mike McCormack called the decision “bad judgement” and a slap in the face to law and order professionals.
“He can legally wear supporter wardrobe for the Hells Angels if he wants as a private citizen. But when you represent the whole city, which includes citizens and police officers, I don’t think it’s appropriate,” said McCormack.
He believes the iconic star, who is also the Toronto Raptors global ambassador, should be given an ultimatum.
“Drake is going to have to choose between the key to the city or supporting the Hells Angels and organized crime,” said McCormack. “We feel you can’t do both.”
Toronto Sun readers certainly seem to agree.
Our online poll question on Saturday asked, “Did the city make a mistake in 2016 by handing Drake a key to The 6ix?”
Of those who responded, 83.8% (4,360 votes) voted yes while 16.2% (843 votes) voted no as of late Saturday afternoon.
If Drake realized his Hells Angels hoodie was in fact supporting the infamous motorcycle club, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said he is not amused.
“Any endorsement, no matter it’s form, for a criminal org is frustrating for all law enforcement including TPS,” tweeted the chief. “It’s possible Drake didn’t know his clothing was a show of support but, if he did, then I have real concerns w/ his disregard for the values held by this city & TPS.”
Drake, who has yet to respond, upset law enforcement from coast to coast by being seen in the Aug. 21 Instagram post wearing a Toronto Chapter Big Red Machine sweatshirt next to rapper Travis Scott. The supporter’s fashion choice, in which the 8 stands for H and the 1 stands for A, is available online or at the Route 81 retail store on Carlaw Ave.
OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes, who overseas the province’s integrated Biker Enforcement Unit, said “people may not realize it but when you buy one of those shirts you are helping fund the Hells Angels operations.”
Police contend the Hells Angels are an “organized crime” outfit that partakes in everything from gun and drug trafficking to murder.
But the Hells Angels tell the Sun such labelling is based on stereotypes and there’s nothing illegal about being a motorcycle enthusiast or for someone like Drake to wear a legal sweatshirt.
For Drake, however, it is an issue since he has been criticized in the past by Toronto Police for not talking with detectives following the 2015 murders of Duval Hibbert, 23 and Ariella Navarro- Fenoy, 26, at his OVO fest after-party at Muzik Nightclub on the CNE grounds.
Hibbert was shot inside the pool area while Navarro-Fenoy was killed by a stray bullet that travelled north along Dufferin St. where she was attempting to flee.
Ten days later, Drake finally issued a statement saying, “I am plagued and pained by the violence that continues to escalate in our city.”
Since then the body count of victims linked to Drake has risen to six– like his nickname for the city — three of whom are among the 71 victims slain so far this year.
“He should be doing things to help promote non-violence,” said McCormack. “Not promote criminal enterprises.”