In an experimental and unusual new tactic, the NYPD emailed tickets for a fake Deafheaven concert to Brooklyn-based individuals wanted for traffic violations and outstanding bench warrants. Those arriving at a Williamsburg parking lot for the fictitious emo black metal show were then rounded up by the police and taken in for booking, beard trimming and detention.

Informally known as Operation: Söurdöugh, the fraudulent ticket scheme targeted a niche subsection of the Brooklyn population, colloquially known as black metal hipsters. This kind of micro-targeted law enforcement activity has been on the rise lately in New York City. Last year the NYPD staged an elaborate two-day stoner doom festival on Governor’s island dubbed “Fuzz-Fest,” where a small army of undercover police officers were sent through the crowds issuing fines to those suspected of illicit drug activity. Aside from obvious entrapment concerns, the unorthodox operation drew widespread condemnation when the NYPD limited available food services for the festival exclusively to their own “McGruffin” brand sandwiches and gluten-free baked goods.

The legal and ethical issues of this kind of metal profiling have civil rights watchdog groups up in arms, and it’s far from clear if these mass metal round ups satisfy basic due process requirements. Keith Baltimore of the Metal Legal Fund expressed grave concerns with this kind of genre-based profiling. “Anytime you single out one specific sub-genre of metal music for law enforcement activity, there’s a real danger you’re engaging in the kind of musical discrimination that runs afoul of our conception of equal protection under the law. Except brutal death metal. Those goons need to be cracked down on hard.”

Tagged with →