Rapper Rhymefest's Empathetic Response To The Man Who Robbed Him At Gunpoint

"You just put a gun in my face for $3 in my wallet. I defend you against police brutality, I work on your behalf you robbed me."

Grammy- and Oscar-winning rapper Rhymefest, or Che Smith, is a widely respected artist who has earned accolades for his music as well as for his advocacy work in Chicago, where he's based.

On Saturday morning, Rhymefest says he was the victim of an armed robbery — he was sitting in his car when a man jumped in, held a gun to his head and demanded his wallet.

While being robbed at gunpoint is a terrifying experience for anyone, Rhymefest shared in a series of tweets later that day why the incident was particularly upsetting for him.

"To the young brother that put the gun to my head this morning & took my wallet. You don't know how you just damaged your community," Rhymefest tweeted. "It's 730am. you just put a gun in my face for $3 in my wallet. I defend you against police brutality, I work on your behalf you robbed me."

Known for being passionate about his local community, Rhymefest ran for alderman of Chicago's 20th Ward in 2010. He ultimately lost to incumbent Willie Cochran. 

On Twitter, Rhymefest directly addressed the man who robbed him, telling him to get in touch, apologize and talk to him. "Give me faith that it's our desperation & not our hearts that're dark. The man who robbed me I want to reach out to me If I know him tell him," he tweeted. 

The robbery wasn't the only thing that left a bad taste in his mouth. Rhymefest also posted a video of his encounter with the police when he tried to report the crime. 

While it's unclear what happened before he started recording, it seems like the police weren't taking him seriously and failed to file a report — until he started filming them and one officer relented.

Chicago Police Department's communications director, Anthony Guglielmi, later responded to Rhymefest's video with an apology, and said that the CPD will address it. 

Earlier this summer, after the police fatally shot two black men in separate incidents that many described as unwarranted, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah expressed bewilderment about the apparent divide between people's opinions on the state of American policing.

"If you're pro-Black Lives Matter, you're assumed to be anti-police. And if you're pro-police, then you surely hate black people... In reality, you can be pro-cop and pro-black, which is what we should all be," Noah said. 

And Rhymefest, despite the incident on Saturday, shows that working across the aisle, with both law enforcement and the community, can be a powerful strategy to effect change.