Flavor Flav is his HOA’s Public Enemy Number One.
The rapper’s yearslong battle with neighbors over his annual Fourth of July fireworks show might be at an end after Metro slapped him with two citations Friday night.
The rap artist, whose real name is William Drayton Jr., has been setting off thousands of dollars worth of illegal fireworks since 2009 and this wasn’t his first clash with police over the party in his gated community outside his home. The home is in the 7800 block of Via Ventura Court on the south side of the Las Vegas Valley.
Drayton, 55, is best known as the hype man for the iconic hip-hop group Public Enemy.
His festivities were foiled last year when TMZ reported he planned to set off $8,000 worth of fireworks. After the story broke, the Metropolitan Police Department threatened to throw the rapper in jail if he set off any of the illegal fireworks and Drayton moved the party elsewhere, said Finisterre Homeowners Association board member Harold Ewing.
This year, neighbors, who asked not to be named, said the rapper had three or four pallets of fireworks stacked 4 feet high. Drayton said he set off most of them all at once in hopes that police wouldn’t become involved. In previous years, neighbors said he set off the fireworks in batches, using a police scanner to avoid run-ins with the law.
Police put a stop to this year’s show after neighbors called. Officers responded just before 8 p.m. Police confiscated more than 100 pounds of Drayton’s remaining fireworks and gave him two fireworks-related citations, said Lt. Ken Romaine. He was unable to name the exact citations the rapper received.
The number of explosives required that Metro send a special unit to dispose of the fireworks, he said.
Ewing said police followed up with neighbors on Saturday, suggesting that they petition the district attorney’s office to see if it will do something about the rapper’s behavior.
Police have written four fireworks citations in the valley over the past two years, according to officer Larry Hadfield.
Ewing said the police have more or less said, “Eh…it’s going to happen.” Neighbors said officers told them to consider how many other fireworks calls Metro must deal with throughout the valley.
Several of Drayton’s neighbors are terrified to leave their homes on the holiday, fearing their property will catch fire, Ewing said.
Ewing said he plans to contact the DA’s office to see what can be done.
But Drayton said his neighbors won’t have to worry about his fireworks show next year. The rapper is moving his party out of the neighborhood.
“I don’t want to go to jail for fireworks,” he said, lamenting the loss of his tradition and noting that several people told him this year was the best Fourth of July of their life.
Drayton estimated he had about 110 people over, a smaller crowd than previous years.
“We all had a ball until the police came,” Drayton said.
The party was so good that evidence of it still remained, he said, pointing to the empty beer cans outside his home and fireworks gunpowder residue on the street.
Some neighbors didn’t see leftover beer cans and fireworks chemicals as something to boast about.
Drayton chalks the entire incident up to having neighbors who are like the “Scrooge” or “The Grinch” of Independence Day.
“It isn’t like I do this every day,” he said.
Drayton pleaded guilty in April to misdemeanor domestic violence charges stemming from an incident with his stepson in 2012, when he threatened the then 17-year-old with a knife after an argument with the teen’s mother.
He originally faced felony charges, but struck a deal and was ordered to complete counseling classes by August or face jail time.
The citations shouldn’t affect his deal, according to his attorney Kristina Wildeveld. The rapper wasn’t ordered to stay out of trouble, he only has to complete the classes, which he is doing, she said.
“Flav really loves America,” Wildeveld said “There was no intention ever to hurt anyone.”
Review-Journal writer Wesley Juhl contributed to this report. Contact Bethany Barnes at email@example.com or 702-477-3861. Find her on Twitter: @betsbarnes.