Cops and rappers: NYPD camera on Hot 97 studios
The decision was sparked by the wounding of a rapper last week in front of the hip-hop station's SoHo studios - the latest in a string of high-profile shooting incidents linked to Hot 97.
"We'll keep it in place until Hot 97 is evicted or cleans up its act," a police source told the News, adding that the camera will go up this week.
The camera, emblazoned with the NYPD logo, will be among the first in a planned wave of high-tech video recorders set to go up around the city.
But while most of the cameras are earmarked for high-crime areas and potential terror targets, this one will be specifically aimed at stemming rap-related gunplay in a generally safe, well-heeled neighborhood.
The latest violence erupted Wednesday night when rapper Jamal (Gravy) Woolard, 30, was shot in the butt outside Hot 97's Hudson St. studios by a hanger-on miffed the performer wouldn't let him sit in on a radio interview, cops said.
Woolard, who went through with the interview after being wounded, was treated at St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan and released. He has not cooperated with detectives.
Nearby surveillance cameras didn't capture the shooting, but recorded people running from the gunfire, sources said.
Since then, extra cops have been stationed outside the studio, including a marked patrol car at night.
The camera, which will point directly at 395 Hudson St., the building that houses Hot 97, is part of a $9million plan to install 500 video recorders throughout the city.
The move was announced last month by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who is also seeking federal money to install a video surveillance system around the Financial District modeled after London's "Ring of Steel."
So far, two wireless video recorders have been installed at high-crime areas in Brooklyn, sources said. The camera set for Hot 97 would be the first to go up in Manhattan, the sources said.
Some of the radio station's neighbors said they were surprised the camera would be needed in a trendy area with multimillion-dollar apartments and relatively low crime.
"This is easy to fix. Get Hot 97 out of here or enforce the loitering laws," said Leslie Williams, 49, a freelance television director.
"It's very safe. I don't get why they would put up this camera," said contractor Stephen Estrin, 35. "But it couldn't hurt."
Like those in Brooklyn, the Hot 97 cameras will be on 24 hours, seven days a week, sources said.
The cameras have zoom lenses and the capacity to be monitored in real time by local precincts - giving cops an edge in nabbing crooks, sources said.
The New York City District Council of Carpenters, which owns the building that houses Hot 97 studios, vowed to boot the station after the recent gunfire and has gotten support from several of its tenants.
A spokesman for the union's attorney Brian O'Dwyer said yesterday that "lawyers will be meeting with their clients [today] and examining all their options."
A spokesman for Hot 97 was not immediately reachable for comment.
With Oren Yaniv
Timeline of trouble
History of hotheaded violence around Hot 97's Hudson St. studios:
• April 26, 2006
Rapper Jamal (Gravy) Woolard is shot in the butt outside the building — allegedly by a hanger-on who was upset the performer refused to let him sit in on an interview inside the studios. Despite his wound, Woolard did the interview.
• Feb. 28, 2005
A beef between superstar 50 Cent and turncoat protege The Game erupts in gunfire outside Hot 97, wounding a 20-year-old rapper in The Game's posse.
• Sept. 19, 2002
Hot 97 deejay Funkmaster Flex allegedly pummeled and choked rival deejay Big Steph Lova of WWPR Power 105 FM outside Hot 97. He eventually pleaded guilty to harassment.
• Feb. 25, 2001
A showdown outside Hot 97 between the crews of Lil' Kim and Capone-N-Noreaga ends with a 22-shot barrage that left a 21-year-old Capone-N-Noreaga crew member wounded. Lil' Kim is now serving a year in jail for lying to a grand jury about the shooting.