NYPD commissioner scolds Busta Rhymes

/ Source: The Associated Press

New York City's police commissioner berated rap star Busta Rhymes on Wednesday, accusing him of withholding information about the slaying of his bodyguard at a hip-hop video taping.

Commissioner Raymond Kelly complained at a news conference that the silence of several potential witnesses has stymied the investigation of the Brooklyn killing last week of Israel Ramirez. He saved his harshest remarks for the rapper.

Ramirez "worked for him," Kelly said. "I'd think he'd be knocking on the door. ... If your employee's murdered in front of you, you think you might want to talk to the police."

If the witnesses keep stonewalling, they could be forced to answer questions before a grand jury, Kelly said.

"I find it quite disturbing," the commissioner said. "This individual was shot in front of a lot of people."

The rapper's publicist declined to comment.

Rhymes attended a wake last week at a Manhattan funeral home for the 29-year-old Ramirez, who grew up in Harlem and left behind a wife and three young children

The rapper has not spoken publicly about the fatal shooting. But in a written statement, he said Ramirez "was not only security for me, but he was a friend, one of the rare friends that you come across that you can trust with your life."

Ramirez was gunned down Feb. 5th outside a star-studded gathering at a warehouse where a music video was being taped to accompany a remix of Rhymes' latest hit single. Along with Rhymes, Missy Elliot, Mary J. Blige, DMX and G-Unit members, including Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, were among those in attendance.

Police say the shooting may have stemmed from an argument between Yayo and a producer that began inside and spilled onto the street. They believe Ramirez, who was unarmed, was a bystander who may have intervened only to protect Rhymes.