The Glendale, California Elks lodge is investigating an incident where a performer poked fun at the death of Michael Brown, who was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. TMZ shared a video of the performance, which they say was taken by a member of the audience who was disgusted by the song, and by the fact that no one in the audience spoke up in protest.
According to TMZ, the event was a dinner connected to a charity golf match, hosted by retired LAPD Officer Joe Myers. TMZ says that some 50-60 people were in attendance, where they heard a singer named Gary Fishell perform Jim Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” but with his own words. TMZ also says that about half of the audience were retired police. Fishell is himself a former federal investigator who now works as a private detective.
TMZ says that Fishell’s lawyer describes him as “a goofball who writes funny songs.” The lawyer says that Fishell now realizes that the song was in bad taste.
When Joe Myers was questioned about the incident, he told TMZ,
How can I dictate what he [Fishell] says in a song?” Myers goes on, “This is America. We can say what we want. This is a free America.
This is not a question of misunderstanding Fishell’s words.
There is no ambiguity about this. On the video, obtained by TMZ, Fishell can clearly be heard singing the following words:
Michael Brown learned a lesson about a messin’
With a badass policeman
And he’s bad, bad Michael Brown
Baddest thug in the whole damn town
Badder than old King Kong
Meaner than a junkyard dog
Two men took to fightin’
And Michael punched in through the door
And Michael looked like some old Swiss cheese
His brain was splattered on the floor
And he’s dead, dead Michael Brown
Deadest man in the whole damn town
His whole life’s long gone
Deader than a roadkill dog
Trustees of the Elks lodge are not happy about the occurrence. One trustee told TMZ,
It’s deplorable and inappropriate and the Lodge will take disciplinary action against [Fishell] and possibly the people who organized this event. We don’t stand for any racist things like this.
Here’s the video with Fishell’s racist song, from TMZ: