Sweden charges US rapper ASAP Rocky with assault

ASAP Rocky performs ‘I’m Not the Only One’ with Sam Smith (not pictured) during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014. — Reuters  pic
ASAP Rocky performs ‘I’m Not the Only One’ with Sam Smith (not pictured) during the 42nd American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 23, 2014. — Reuters pic

STOCKHOLM, July 25 ― US rapper ASAP Rocky has been charged with assault in Sweden over his alleged involvement in a street brawl in central Stockholm last month and will remain in jail pending trial, the Swedish public prosecutor said today.

Best known for his song Praise the Lord, the 30-year-old performer, producer and model, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was detained on July 3 with several members of his entourage after an altercation with two men.

More than half a million people have signed a petition calling for his release on bail. Last week US President Donald Trump urged Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to free Mayers and said he would personally vouch for his bail.

Sweden does not have a bail system. Lofven has said he will not influence the rapper’s legal case.

Mayers has repeatedly said he is innocent. The prosecutor said evidence included video footage purportedly showing the fight on June 30.

“The artist is the one who threw the victim to the ground and then, together with two other suspects, dealt him blows and kicks. A bottle was used during the assault and there are cuts on the arms and the outside of the victim’s ear,” Public Prosecutor Daniel Suneson told Reuters.

Suneson declined to say which of the suspects wielded the bottle. If convicted, Mayers faces a maximum of 2 years in prison. His trial is due to start within the next two weeks.

“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 despite claims of self-defence and provocation,” Suneson said in an earlier statement.

Mayers was in Stockholm to perform at the Smash hip-hop festival. His detention has forced him to cancel the rest of his Europe tour. He still had a dozen shows to go.

Mayers is known as much for his experimental approach to music as his unpredictable fashion style that made him the first person of colour to front luxury brand Dior Homme.

Before his arrest, he uploaded videos on Instagram of the altercation with two men, saying they had followed his team and he had not wanted any trouble. His lawyer was not immediately reachable for comment today.

Also known by the pseudonym Lord Flacko, Mayers shot to fame with his 2011 debut mixtape Live.Love.A$AP. His latest album, Testing, bagged the No 4 spot on the Billboard 200 charts on its release last year.

Over 600,000 people having signed an online petition for his release, including fellow artists Nicki Minaj and Post Malone. — Reuters

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