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Rapper A$AP Rocky Charged With Assault In Sweden

A$AP Rocky performs in Paris last month. He has been detained in Sweden since early July.
David Wolff-Patrick
A$AP Rocky performs in Paris last month. He has been detained in Sweden since early July.

Authorities in Sweden have charged rapper A$AP Rocky with assault in connection with an altercation last month in Stockholm — a case that has rallied celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber and even a personal intervention from President Trump.

The musician and record producer, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was detained along with two others by police following a street brawl in the Swedish capital, where the rapper was on tour.

In a statement translated from Swedish, the city prosecutor's office said Thursday that the three men had been charged "for the abuse of a person near Hötorget," a city square in central Stockholm.

"Together they have handed out blows and kicks against a lying person," prosecutor Daniel Suneson said in the statement. "[T]he plaintiff has been injured on the arms, among other things."

An edited video posted on various social media sites appears to show Rocky and members of his entourage throwing someone to the ground in the June 30 incident.

However, Rocky has maintained that it's a case of self-defense. He subsequently released a video on his own Instagram account that purports to show the lead-up to the confrontation, in which two men follow the rapper and his retinue and are repeatedly told by Rocky's bodyguard to leave.

In a minor scuffle, one of the men appears to throw a pair of headphones at the bodyguard and then continues to the rapper and his group.

"We don't want to fight you," Rocky says in the video. "We're not trying to go to jail."

After the rapper's arrest in early July, Kardashian took the lead among a group of celebrities who rallied to his defense.

Kardashian tweeted last week her thanks for the Trump administration's help "with efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends."

"Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated," she wrote.

Speaking in the Oval Office on Friday, the president said, "I personally don't know A$AP Rocky, but I can tell you he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country, and when I say African American I think I can really say from everybody in this country because we're all one."

Later, Trump tweeted that he had spoken to Kanye West about the case. On Saturday, he said he had spoken to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who assured him that "A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.