SAN ANTONIO, JUNE 12 -- City police warned record stores today to stop selling the controversial album "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" by the rap group 2 Live Crew or face possible obscenity charges.
"There's no prior restraint. We're just asking for voluntary compliance," said Lt. Jerry Pittman, commander of the vice squad. In about five days, police will begin conducting undercover investigations and arresting anyone still selling the album, he said.
Pittman said Bexar County Assistant District Attorney Mike Schill reviewed transcripts of the album lyrics and listened to them on tape before determining that some words violate state obscenity law.
However Schill, reached later by telephone, would say only that the lyrics in question could violate state obscenity laws.
"I have my opinion, but my opinion doesn't count," Schill said. "It's what the jury or the judge think."
But, he added, "I think the federal judge in Florida was correct -- which was that it's obscene."
In Florida last week, U.S. District Judge Jose Gonzalez ruled material on the album obscene under that state's law. On Sunday, two members of 2 Live Crew were arrested after performing the banned lyrics at an adults-only nightclub concert. Two days earlier, a record store owner was arrested for selling the album.
Pittman said, "We believe that it is obscene as well in the state of Texas," adding that the album describes "deviant sexual intercourse" and "is inundated with obscene language."
State law requires that someone convicted of selling obscene material be aware that it is obscene, Pittman said. He said officers are "diplomatically" going to about 84 local stores to explain what the album contains, and added, "We're getting compliance."
Sound Warehouse stores in San Antonio removed the records today, said branch manager Mark Christy.
"I'm glad to see that they're doing it," Christy said. "I'm not one of the people for censorship, but I think this music is ridiculous."
Greta Colvin, manager of a Hasting's Records and Tapes, said officers asked her to sign a statement that she had been informed the lyrics violate obscenity laws.
"It's censorship," she said. "If someone comes out with another song that somebody with a political influence finds offensive, they're going to come around again."