Baltimore police officers are refusing to work overtime at a concert by Rage Against the Machine because the band has donated money to the defense fund of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. The city's more than 3,000 officers heeded a plea from their union not to sign up for 10 voluntary overtime positions at a nearly sold-out Rage Against the Machine show Thursday at the Baltimore Arena.
If the positions are not filled, the city-owned arena will use its own security or hire additional private security.
"We have something called free speech in this country," said Seth Hurwitz, the show's promoter. "The police are exercising the same freedom of speech that the band is enjoying." Hurwitz also said that police would normally play a minimal role in providing security. "They're mostly there in case someone needs to be arrested," he said.
Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and radio journalist, is on death row in Pennsylvania for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer . . .
Evergreen British pop star Cliff Richard confounded his critics and topped the U.K. charts this week despite a virtual radio station boycott of his millennium single. "I thought I ought to start looking for my own radio station," the 59-year-old "Peter Pan of Pop" quipped as his fans sent "Millennium Prayer"--the Lord's Prayer set to the music of "Auld Lang Syne"--to the top of the charts.