Man raps about raping kids and killing grandma, Arkansas cops say. He pleads not guilty

An Arkansas man accused of putting threatening lyrics in his rap music has pleaded not guilty, stating that the violence is part of his persona as a musician, authorities said.

The 20-year-old Bentonville resident was arrested Nov. 2 on a charge of first-degree terroristic threatening, according to court records. Authorities later added a charge of threatening a bombing, records show.

He pleaded not guilty April 9 to threat of bombing related to his lyrics, according to court records.

McClatchy News reached out to the man’s attorney for comment April 12 but did not receive an immediate response.

The FBI, acting on an anonymous tip, reviewed nine rap music videos uploaded by the Bentonville man, according to a probable cause document.

“Statements and threats within the videos included racial statements about specific groups of people and killing them, bombing churches associated with a specific race, killing kids, raping children, bringing his gun to school and killing people of a specific ethnic group, shooting up his school because he was bullied, details of a plan about committing a school shooting, killing his grandmother, bombing a specific public event, killing the president and bombing the senate,” the affidavit said.

The FBI searched the man’s home and found no weapons or explosives, officials said.

The man told authorities the lyrics were part of his rap “character or persona,” and that his music was “meant to be funny,” according to the affidavit.

He told the FBI “he does not believe the statements he makes in his songs,” and had no intentions of committing any of the actions referenced in his lyrics, records show.

Why First Amendment protections may not apply

“The tension here is public safety and freedom of expression,” Danielle Weatherby, a law professor at the University of Arkansas who specializes in the First Amendment, told KNWA.

Hate speech is protected speech in the U.S., with exceptions, including when it constitutes “true” threats of violence against individuals.

“Speech that crosses a boundary from expression to threats of violence …is a place where the First Amendment does not protect freedom of expression, “ Weatherby told KNWA.

“In this day and age where we’re dealing with school shootings and massacres of a major scale, we have to take this kind of speech seriously,” she told the station.

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