A$AP Rocky Found Guilty Of Assault | WGLT

A$AP Rocky Found Guilty Of Assault

Aug 14, 2019
Originally published on August 15, 2019 10:39 am

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Court staff hand out the verdict to the press at the end of a hearing in US rapper A$AP Rocky's assault trial, in Stockholm, Sweden.
ANDERS WIKLUND / AFP/Getty Images

Rapper A$AP Rocky has been found guilty of assault in Sweden tied to an altercation in June, but was given a suspended sentence and has been ordered to pay 12,500 Swedish krona — about $1,300 — to the victim.

Bystanders, and Rocky himself, caught bits and pieces of the incident on video, some of which showed Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers, and his crew attempting to de-escalate the situation and walk away, while other videos appeared to show the rapper throwing the 19-year-old victim to the ground.

The incident led to Rocky being arrested and held in jail for several weeks in Stockholm, garnering interest from fans, celebrities and President Trump, who then sent his special envoy for hostage affairs to watch Rocky's trial.

Rocky was released from prison earlier this month pending the verdict, and returned to the U.S. shortly afterwards.

Two other members of Rocky's entourage were also ordered to pay damages to the victim.

Rocky responded to the guilty verdict on his Instagram account. "I am of course disappointed by today's verdict," he wrote. "I want to say thanks again to all of my fans, friends, and everyone who showed me love during this difficult time."

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A Swedish court has found the rapper A$AP Rocky guilty of assault and has ordered him to pay damages to the 19-year-old victim. It was a street fight that became an international incident. NPR's Andrew Limbong reports.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: It's been a rough summer for A$AP Rocky, real name, Rakim Mayers. On June 30, he and his entourage were in Stockholm when they were approached by two men. Rocky posted snippets of this part of the incident on his Instagram account. You can hear him trying to de-escalate the situation, asking the men to stop following them.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A$AP ROCKY: Listen, listen. We won't want to fight y'all. We're not trying to go to jail.

LIMBONG: But other video taken by witnesses appear to show the rapper throwing the victim onto the ground. The fight led to Rocky and two of his associates spending nearly a month in a Swedish jail. Here's where the story starts to pick up steam. Rocky's famous friends started tweeting about him. The gossip news website TMZ posted anonymous claims that the Swedish prison cells were, quote, "inhumane." Then President Trump got involved, spurred by an apparent conversation with the rapper Kanye West. Trump tweeted that he'd be contacting Sweden's, quote, "very talented prime minister" to help A$AP Rocky. At his trial, Rocky claimed self-defense.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A$AP ROCKY: At this point, we were really scared because I just saw my security guard get cut. He bleeding. You know, I don't know what to expect from these strangers.

LIMBONG: Prosecutors were looking for a six-month prison sentence for Rocky. Ultimately, a judge declared that he and the other two men were free to leave the country after the trial even before a verdict was handed down. Rocky was back in the States in time to play the Real Street Festival in Anaheim, Calif., on Sunday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A$AP ROCKY: While I was away...

(SOUNDBITE OF FESTIVAL CROWD AMBIANCE)

A$AP ROCKY: Hey. Hold on. Hold the mosh pits. Hold up. This a sentimental moment right here.

LIMBONG: A fan recorded this part of his set where he thanked everyone for supporting him calling the whole ordeal a scary and humbling experience.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A$AP ROCKY: I'm so happy to be here right now.

(APPLAUSE)

LIMBONG: While the guilty ruling isn't in Rocky's favor, neither he nor the other two men have to go back to Sweden to serve any additional jail time. They do have to pay the victim $12,500 Swedish krona, about $1,300, on top of other court fines and fees. On Instagram, Rocky said he was disappointed, but again thanked his fans and friends for supporting him. Rocky is still scheduled to headline a festival in Finland this weekend.

Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.