For some people in the United States, the sight of a police officer brings on feelings of safety and relief, perhaps even pride. For others, police officers elicit an automatic fear of brutality. Which group a person belongs to is often determined by their skin color and social status — but one summer afternoon in 2008, this schema was flipped on its head.
A SWAT team from the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office burst into the home of Berwyn Heights’ mayor, Cheye Calvo, suspecting the home’s residents to be involved in drug trafficking. The SWAT team bound Calvo and his mother-in-law, killed the family dogs, and ransacked the house looking for pot that was never found. They lacked a proper search warrant and had done little background investigation; it later turned out that the Calvos were unknowing pawns in a “drug trafficking plan involving the shipment of large parcels of marijuana to addresses of uninvolved residents.” The real dealers would have a lackey watch the house and snag the parcel once it was delivered. The Calvos were completely innocent.
And ten years after this gross miscarriage of justice, the band American High has written a song about it. “Cheye Calvo” is a catchy number, reminiscent of Sublime and Green Day; however, the cheery music belies dark subject matter. In their video for the song, American High takes on both police brutality and the increasingly-hard-to-justify prohibition of marijuana, splicing Prohibition-era footage with news clips of Calvo and live footage of police home invasions. The result is a video that’s both timely and unsettling:
The California rockers have made a strong statement with “Cheye Calvo,” leaving fans looking forward to more political and rebellious tunes. Find American High on Facebook to stay in the know on this up and coming band.
This post was sponsored by Independent Music Promotions. All opinions are our own.