The Pembroke police officer that landed a brief spot in a rap video out of Savannah has no ties to any gangs, according to Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe.
The appearance of Sgt. Billy Gray in the video for the song “Savannah Anthem,” which posted to YouTube on May 14, was really just an unintentional bad idea on the part of the video’s director, Crowe said.
About halfway through the 3.5-minute video, much of which appears to be filmed in neighborhoods just west of downtown Savannah, there is a quick flash of a uniformed policeman wearing sunglasses and standing in front of a patrol car with flashing lights. A few scenes later, the officer is shown again – this time in a brief close-up.
Crowe explained that some film students from Savannah College of Art and Design had previously gotten approval from the city council to shoot a short film for children called “Succotash.”
“At the end of the filming, they wanted to do some trailers for the city of Pembroke that would be shown at the end of the short film and as a way to say thanks (to the city),” Crowe said.
The shots of Gray were taken while Pembroke officers were acting as security and blocking streets for the SCAD students during the filming of the children’s story, he said.
And when the film directors were later putting together the rap video, Crowe said the shots of Gray were chosen at random because the director thought they would look good in the video.
It never crossed the directors’ minds that the Pembroke officer would be recognized, Crowe said.
“They had no ill intentions,” he said.
Crowe said the directors have since pulled the video from any website they have control over and have even asked the person who put it on YouTube to take it off.
“We’re just waiting now to see if that happens,” Crowe said, adding that the directors have no control over what has been posted on YouTube.
As of 3:30 p.m. today, Thursday, the video was still posted by username MrXadrian.
“As far as we’re concerned, they’ve apologized to the officer and to the city council and the police department,” Crowe said. “And it’s over and done with as far as we’re concerned.