NYPD Blue Over Springsteen Song

10/09/2003 at 10:23 AM EDT

New York City's finest aren't quite ready to kiss and make up with the Boss.

Rocker Bruce Springsteen angered the city's police department back in 2000 with the song "American Skin (41 Shots)," whose refrain referred to the number of bullets that four white New York officers fired at unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo in a controversial killing in February 1999.

After Springsteen performed the song last Wednesday during a show at New York's Shea Stadium, NYPD police chief Joseph Esposito yanked Springsteen's police escort for his next show, on Friday night, the city's Daily News reports.

New York cops were said to be particularly irked that Springsteen followed "American Skin" with "Into the Fire," which celebrates firefighters, according to an Associated Press report. Springsteen's most recent album, "The Rising," was written in part as a reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks.

Springsteen skipped "American Skin" during the Friday and Saturday night shows, and the cops restored the security escort for the Saturday night finale of Springsteen's tour.

Boss biographer Dave Marsh, who is married to band co-manager Barbara Carr, told the Daily News that the police reaction was "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. "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 department didn't comment other than to confirm that it did indeed provide an escort after the Wednesday and Saturday night shows.

At the time the song was released, a police officer's association urged its 27,000 members to boycott Springsteen's 10 Madison Square Garden concerts, the AP notes.

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