A$AP Rocky Still Pleads NOT GUILTY As Assault Trial Begins
The American rapper, ASAP Rocky, stood trial today in Stockholm, Sweden, for an assault charge. He has been in Sweden for about a month now, being held in jail since the alleged assault happened. Rocky and his entourage had gotten into a physical altercation with two men while staying in Stockholm. Rocky has pleaded not guilty and said he acted in self defense. Since then it seems like all hell has broke loose. This case has turned into a full blown international affair, with very famous and powerful people trying to remedy the situation. Accusations of human rights abuses and racism have been thrown at Sweden’s justice system.
Who is ASAP Rocky?
If you don’t know who he is, ASAP Rocky is the stage name of 30 year old rapper Rakim Mayers. He is from Harlem, New York, and has also worked as an actor, model and record producer. He has been in the main stream hip-hop scene since 2011, when his song “Peso” made it on the Billboard Top 100 R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. It was also the lead single of his acclaimed breakout mixtape Live. Love. ASAP. From that point on Rocky’s career took off. Since then he has collaborated with huge artists like Drake, Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lemar, Frank Ocean and Lana Del Ray. Beyond his music Rocky has a passion for fashion. He has modeled for established designers like Raf Simons and Calvin Klein. He has even collaborated with mega brand Guess to make a few clothing lines.
Rocky was in Sweden because he was set to perform at a music festival there. He and his entourage were walking through Stockholm when two men appeared to be following them. Rocky and his friends repeatedly told the two men to stop following them and to leave them alone. Tensions kept rising between the two parties and eventually lead to a street brawl that was captured on camera.
Here are some video clips TMZ obtained of the fight from witnesses’ phones.
Then Rocky posted video footage on his instagram of the events that lead to the fight. Below is another video by TMZ about the matter.
“We don’t want to fight ya’ll,” Rocky says to one. “We’re not trying to go to jail.”
The 19 year old man, Mustafa Jafari (guy who threw headphones) accused Rocky and two of his friends of assault. Jafari claimed that they attacked him and threw him to the ground. Rocky and his friends were detained July 5th and held in jail ever since. Sweden does not use a bail system in their courts system and Rocky has been labeled a “flight risk” because he has the “resources” to flee.
The case immediately attracted wide spread attention on social media because of the videos of the fight going viral. A number of high profile celebrities like Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jada Pinkett Smith, Justin Bieber, Meek Mill and Kris Jenner called out what they perceived as injustice and demanded Rocky’s release with the hashtag #FreeRocky.
Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian even reached out to President Donald Trump for his help.
The President even called the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven .
But then after Rocky and his friends were charged, the President voiced his opinion.
Then a Swedish government spokesman replied; “Sweden and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven have been very clear in the dialogue with both the White House and directly with the American president, that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot interfere in legal proceedings,” reported by Reuters.
The Start of the Trial.
Which brings us to today, July 30th, the start of the trial. Since the case has gathered so much media attention Tuesday’s hearing was held in a special secure courtroom. 50 journalists were present and even the U.S. diplomat, Robert C. O’Brien, who is the State Department’s special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.
Rocky and his two friends who are also accused have maintained that they were the ones being harassed and acted in self defense.
Prosecutor Daniel Suneson showed the judge video from witnesses’ phones and security cameras, which he says goes against Rocky’s case. The prosecution alleges that Rocky threw Jafari to the ground and two of his entourage punched and kicked him.
Jafari told the court “I was shocked that he took me by the neck and lifted me up, I tried to hit him but my punches did not land.”
Jafari then said that he and his friend followed Rocky and his crew because he threw his headphones at them and wanted them back.
Jafari continued “I went after them because I could not speak English and I wanted to know why he behaved that way,” he said. “I wanted my headphones back.”
Jafari is seeking 139,000 Swedish Crowns, which is around $14,500.
On Thursday it will be Rocky’s team’s turn to present evidence for their case. A verdict could be reached as early as Friday. If convicted, Rocky and his two friends could face two years in jail.