NYPD Pulls Boss' Shea Escort
An NYPD chief tried to show Bruce Springsteen who's the Boss - yanking the singer's police escort from Shea Stadium after he performed a song about cop-shooting victim Amadou Diallo.
Chief of Department Joseph Esposito got angry when he heard Springsteen sing "American Skin (41 Shots)" at last Wednesday night's opening show at Shea, a police source told the Daily News.
Esposito, the highest-ranking uniformed cop in the department, ordered the escort cut for Springsteen's next show, on Friday night, the source said.
The Boss did not play the song that night or the next - and the security detail was restored for the Saturday night finale.
Springsteen's spokesman did not return calls for comment about the snub or whether he cut the song from the last two shows to mollify the cops.
Boss biographer Dave Marsh, who is married to band co-manager Barbara Carr, called the police reaction "petty foolishness."
"Springsteen, like any other performer who plays Shea Stadium, pays for the extremely heavy 'security' presence in the building," Marsh wrote in an E-mail to The News.
"It is common around the world to allow performers at stadium concerts an escort before leaving ... in order that they not be held inside the building for several hours while parking lots clear."
The Police Department did not deny it pulled back the escort.
"As a courtesy, we gave Mr. Springsteen an escort to his boat at the World's Fair Marina following the concerts Wednesday and Saturday," NYPD spokesman Michael O'Looney said.
No comment about Friday
Asked about the Friday night show, O'Looney declined to elaborate.
"I'm just going to leave it at that," he said.
Springsteen's song has been striking the wrong note with cops since it was released in the summer of 2000.
Its refrain, "41 shots," is a pointed reference to the number of bullets that four white police officers fired at Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in February 1999. Diallo was struck by 19 bullets.
At Wednesday night's show, some cops were particularly peeved that Springsteen followed "American Skin" with "Into the Fire," which lionizes firefighters.
By GEORGE RUSH and TRACY CONNOR, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS