A$AP Rocky charged with assault in Sweden brawl, Trump ‘very disappointed’
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock(NEW YORK) — Rapper A$AP Rocky was charged with assault in Sweden on Thursday over a brawl in the streets of Stockholm on June 30, according to prosecutors.
“I have today commenced criminal proceedings against the three individuals suspected of assault causing actual bodily harm, having come to the conclusion that the events in question constitute a crime and despite claims of self-defence and provocation,” said public prosecutor Daniel Suneson, of the City Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm.
“In reaching this conclusion, I have studied the videos made available to the inquiry,” he added. “It is worth noting that I have had access to a greater amount of material than that which has previously been available on the internet. In addition to video material, the injured party’s statements have been supported by witness statements.”
The rapper’s Swedish attorney Slobodan Jovicic reiterated his argument that his client was acting in self defense and told ABC News on Thursday that while the decision to charge him was “expected,” A$AP Rocky is in “disbelief” and feeling “very disappointed because now it is black and white.”
The American hip-hop star, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has earned pleas for leniency from Justin Bieber to Donald Trump, during several weeks in which he has been held in a Swedish detention center.
The president, who recently said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to advocate to the rapper, expressed his disappointed in the decision on Twitter and punctuated his message with #FreeRocky. Trump also told reporters last week that “many” people, including hip-hop star Kanye West and first lady Melania Trump urged the president to help the rapper.
“Very disappointed in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for being unable to act. Sweden has let our African American Community down in the United States. I watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky, and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers,” the president tweeted Thursday afternoon. “Treat Americans fairly! #FreeRocky.”
Trump appears to be referencing a pair of videos that appear to be taken before the fight and posted to the rapper’s Instagram account on July 2 that show A$AP Rocky and three companions being followed by two other men, with one of the men swinging his headphones at the rapper’s bodyguard.
“Just for the cameras, we don’t want no problems with these boys,” A$AP Rocky can be heard saying in one of the videos.
Following news of the rapper’s arrest, the gossip website TMZ published a one-minute video on July 1 that appears to show A$AP Rocky and his companions kicking and punching the two men other men, but what preceded that brief video clip remains unclear.
A$AP Rocky’s case has sparked outrage in the hip-hop community and Hollywood, prompting several rappers, including frequent collaborators Tyler the Creator, SchoolBoy Q and Rae Sremmurd’s Slim Jxmmi to vow that they will not perform in Sweden.
California hip-hop artist Tyga has already cancelled a show in Sweden earlier this month in a show of support for the imprisoned rapper.
“He’s very thankful for everybody that’s reached out,” Jovicic told ABC News when asked if the hip-hop star is aware of the level of support he has in the U.S. and that the president has spoken out on his case and vowed to help.
The fight, part of which was captured on video, took place while the rapper was in Stockholm during the European leg of his tour. His remaining dates were cancelled.
Performers Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, who were with the rapper that night and also involved in the fight, have also been charged.
The three men will remain in prison until the trial begins which, according to Stockholm’s District Court, will take an estimated three days.
The trial will take place July 30 and Aug. 1 and 2, the prosecutor’s office said. Suneson added that those who were injured in the fight will testify and that new footage of the assault will be played in court as well.
Cameras are not allowed in court.
A$AP Rocky faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison if found guilty.
The rapper’s debut album, “Long. Live. ASAP,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 charts in 2013, and sold over 1 million copies. His second album, released two years later, “At. Long. Last. ASAP,” also debuted at No. 1 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. “Testing,” his third studio album, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts last year.
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