Police apologize for likening suspect to Ice Cube. Cops and a local TV station used the rapper-actor's likeness to describe a rape suspect still at large

By Gary Susman
July 22, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Ice Cube: Doug Peters/All Action/Retna

Ice Cube may have once cultivated a gangsta image, but now that he’s a successful film actor, he wants everyone to know he’s no thug. So he was reportedly offended by a community alert released Sunday by Chicago police, and illustrated on one Windy City TV station, that described an at-large rape suspect as a black male in his mid-20s who ”resembles the popular rap artist Ice Cube.”

Cube happened to be in town, shooting ”Barbershop 2,” and his spokesman said that cast members saw the broadcast on WBBM on Monday, in which the alert was accompanied by footage from one of his music videos. ”This is an unfortunate and hurtful situation for Ice Cube,” publicist Matt Labov told the Associated Press. ”That his good name ever came up in association with the events currently taking place in Chicago’s Wicker Park area is damaging to Ice Cube as a father, husband and artist.”

Police later reissued the alert for the suspect, who has allegedly raped three women in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood on the city’s north side, without any reference to the rapper-actor. ”We acknowledged the information should not have been on the alert,” police spokesman David Bayless said Tuesday. ”We took immediate corrective action. We apologize to Ice Cube for what was an honest mistake and came with no ill intent.”

WBBM also apologized, though it said it was only following the police’s lead in airing the Ice Cube description. ”Chicago police had issued a community alert saying a suspect in a string of crimes in Wicker Park resembled rap artist Ice Cube,” station spokesperson Elizabeth Shapiro said. ”So our information was taken directly from the Chicago Police Department community alert.”