All cool for Ice-T in NYC unlicensed-driving case; prosecutors say state records were wrong
NEW YORK – Ice-T came out on top in a brush with real-life law and order Tuesday when prosecutors dropped unlicensed driving charges against the rapper-turned-TV detective.
"That's what I'm talking about — dismissed!" he called out in a Manhattan courtroom after a judge did just that to the misdemeanor case, which had prompted some choice words about police from the "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" actor.
"Like I said from the gate, I never broke the law," Ice-T said as he left court with his wife, Coco, a model.
Ice-T, 52, was arrested after a traffic stop of his 2009 Cadillac on Manhattan's West Side on July 20; he and his wife were on the road after taking their bulldog, Spartacus, to a vet for knee surgery. Police said they pulled the entertainer over for not wearing a seatbelt — which he contests — and a routine check showed his license was suspended.
He said he had a valid New Jersey driver's license and took to Twitter to call the officer who arrested him a "punk," and a few considerably less polite things, for "arresting the Notorious Ice T for no seatbelt."
The actor has played Detective Fin Tutuola on "Law & Order: SVU" since 2000, but he hasn't always identified with police: His 1992 song "Cop Killer" drew protests from police groups, among others. He said the song was an attempt to shed light on police brutality but ultimately agreed to remove the track from his album "Body Count."
Prosecutors said Tuesday that New York Department of Motor Vehicles records wrongly reflected that his license was suspended because of a lack of insurance, when his car is in fact insured and registered in New Jersey.
Ice-T, born Tracy Marrow, registered and insured his three cars in New Jersey after moving there from New York in 2008 and turned in his New York license plates, said his lawyer, Eric Franz. He said the actor's business managers sent that information to the New York DMV shortly after his move.
But it was "not reflected in the Department of Motor Vehicles' computerized records," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Jessica Barron told a judge.
DMV representatives didn't immediately return a telephone call.
Ice-T said he had no clue his license had been marked as suspended.
"That's why I was so angry," he said. "It basically turned out to be a clerical error."
He took to Twitter again to let fans know the case was dismissed and thumb his nose at "all the haters that wished against me."