Thursday, February 21, 2008

Jay-Z’s clothing line sparks legal storm

Jay-ZJay-Z's clothing line, Rocawear has sparked a legal storm over adverts featuring the family of a man shot dead by police just hours before his wedding.

The ads show the distraught-looking family of Sean Bell - and were released just one day before a trial started for three offices accused of killing him in a hail of 50 bullets.

Yesterday Rocawear was accused of playing a direct part in efforts to prejudice the trial. "This was a planned publicity stunt timed to influence the jury," said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

In the ads, Sean's widow Nicole Paultre-Bell - who wed him posthumously - is seen holding the couple's two daughters Jada, 5, and Jordan, 1, with her wedding ring clearly on show.

Above the photo are her words: "We are going to be here to the end, 'til justice is served."

It is signed Nicole Bell and is a clear reference to her demand that the undercover cops involved in the controversial shooting get the toughest penalty possible.

Paultre-Bell's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, insisted the ads were nothing more than "uplifting".

He refused to say how much she's being paid for the ads and denied it was disrespectful to use her dead husband's case to sell jeans and shirts. "You can easily go negative with anything. She sees it as something uplifting," Rubenstein insisted.

Jameel Spencer, chief marketing officer for Rocawear, justified the ad, insisting the goal is to tell stories of people who overcome adversity. "It embodies the spirit of how Rocawear was born - how hip-hop was born," said Spencer. "We're trying to highlight different stories.

"Nicole, she really embodies the overall spirit of that. She's someone who's suffered a great loss.

"When that happens, you want to curl up in a ball and die. That's a tough thing. The day you're supposed to get married and something horrible happens."

Bell was shot to death by undercover NYPD detectives in November 2006 outside the New York club where his bachelor party had just been held. The wedding was scheduled for a few hours later.

The case sparked outrage when it emerged at least 50 bullets were fired and three officers are on trial for unjustified actions.

Detectives Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora are charged with manslaughter and could face up to 25 years in prison. Detective Marc Cooper is charged with reckless endangerment and could avoid jail time.

By Lee Brown, Feb 21 2008 © Copyright 2008 - Showbiz Spy

No comments:

eXTReMe Tracker