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Bronx Defenders funding withheld until it complies with city plan after rap video controversey

The embattled Bronx Defenders will not receive $1.6 million grant it was allocated laMiles Dixon/Metro

The embattled Bronx Defenders will not receive $1.6 million grant it was allocated last year by the City Council.

Capital New York first reported Thursday that the city agency that manages contracts with vendors and organizations would not disburse the money until the group was in full compliance with an agreed-upon plan that includes staff training after two attorneys appeared in an anti-cop rap video.

Bronx Defenders did not reply to Metro for comment, nor did the City Council, which the de Blasio administration said allocated the money to the legal aid group in 2014 and is unrelated to the latest budget for 2016.

The Bronx Defenders, which was created in 1995, receives about $20 million from the city to serve some 30,000 low-income and working class residents in the Bronx every year.

Cop union leader Pat Lynch previously called on the city to defund the group entirely over its role in the music video.

The video, which was uploaded to YouTube the day that a grand jury declined to indict a police officer for the alleged chokehold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner and days before two police officers were shot dead in Brooklyn, depicts a police officer with guns to his head.

"For Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop got to get killed," the lyrics read.

After an investigation by the city, the group agreed to a corrective plan that included the resignation of the two attorneys who appeared in their offices for the video and the suspension of the group's founder Robin Steinberg.

The plan also called for training for its more than 200 staff members within 30 days of Steinberg's return from her 60-day suspension without pay.

 
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