Swedish prosecutors on Thursday charged American rapper A$AP Rocky and two of his companions with assault.
What We Know:
- The charges relate to an incident in central Stockholm on June 30 when Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was filmed apparently grabbing and tossing a man through the air and onto the street.
- Rocky was taken into custody while Swedish authorities investigated the case. The rapper claims he acted in self-defense after being pursued and harassed by two fans for several hours. But, earlier this week, Swedish prosecutors said they would not pursue charges against a man Rocky claims incited the violence.Rocky and members of his entourage filmed and posted videos of the night in question that they claim prove they acted in self-defense.
- Prosecutor Daniel Suneson in a statement Thursday said he had access to a “larger amount of material than what has been available on the internet” and judged the actions of Rocky and two of his companions, to be a crime. Suneson claims that even if Rocky was provoked, he acted excessively. The prosecution believes Rocky and the other two men continued to beat and kick the man after he was on the ground and may have cut him with a broken bottle.
- Rocky’s Swedish defense lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, said at a press conference on Thursday that he was “not surprised” by the decision to press charges but said he was “extremely disappointed” that prosecutors chose to give testimony of the alleged victim more weight than that of Rocky and his companions.
- The Stockholm District Court will now decide on the date of the trial.
- Rocky’s case became an international incident after fellow recording artists, including Nicki Minaj, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes rallied to his case, calling for Sweden to release him. U.S. President Donald Trump got involved on the urging of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West and called the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to discuss the case.
- Trump claimed he offered to “personally vouch” for A$AP Rocky’s bail, despite the fact that the Swedish criminal justice system does not include bail. Instead, suspects can be held for an indefinite period before being charged.
- Rocky’s ultimate fate may depend on Sweden’s interpretation of self-defense, which differs greatly from the legal interpretation in the United States. Under Chapter 24 of the Swedish criminal code it is lawful to intervene to prevent an “initiated or imminent criminal attack on person or property” but using excessive force, even in self-defense, can be a criminal offense.
This story will be updated at BNA.