A$AP Rocky was detained in Stockholm several weeks ago as he was investigated (and eventually charged) for assault. The initial reporting on the situation was that Rocky and two guys from his entourage had some kind of encounter with two men in public. I referred to those two men as “Swedes,” but it turns out that that they are not Swedish citizens – both are Afghani, and it seems both men have been living in Sweden for several years, so maybe they are Swedish citizens, I really don’t know. Anyway, the case has garnered a ton of celebrity interest, American media interest and yes, political interest. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West convinced Donald Trump to intervene, and he repeatedly made it worse. Anyway, Rocky’s trial started today and look, the Daily Mail is using the case for their political, anti-immigrant sh-t too. This case could not get any worse, my God.
A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty as his assault trial got underway in Sweden Tuesday, saying that he acted in self-defence. The American rapper, real name Rakim Mayers, is facing two years in jail over claims he and his entourage attacked 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari on June 30 – hitting him with a bottle while also punching and kicking him.
The trial began as Sweden’s Expressen newspaper revealed that Jafari has a lengthy criminal history including prior convictions for heroin, assault and petty theft. Meanwhile his 20-year-old friend, who will appear as a witness in the case after police found there was not enough evidence for him to press charges, has also been in frequent trouble with the law. The friend will be escorted into court by police because he is currently in jail accused of theft and knife crime. The charges relate to the alleged theft of two jackets in central Stockholm on July 19. His most recent arrest came just days after he was freed from jail for another theft – taking some sunglasses – for which he was sentenced to 21 days in jail. Both men are originally from Afghanistan. Jafari came to Sweden as an undocumented migrant from Iran in 2015. It is not clear when his friend arrived.
Swedish prosecutors allege that the Grammy-nominated rapper and the two other suspects ‘deliberately, together and in agreement’ attacked Jafari in central Stockholm on June 30. The trial will be held in a secure courtroom ‘because of the large interest from the media and the public,’ the Stockholm court said, noting that no photographing or filming will take place during the proceedings.
I know that there are a surprisingly number of Swedish internet lawyers commenting on this case in comment sections here and around the web, and I’ve heard their argument: that Rocky is a terrible American who doesn’t respect the laws of another country and blah blah blah. I get that. But there’s video evidence and potential witness testimony that Jafari and his friend instigated the situation and clearly, this was not their first brush with breaking the law. I’m not saying Rocky is innocent (he’s not) or that his claim of self-defense covers everything (it does not). I’m saying that the situation has a lot more nuance than simply “Rocky is the worst, throw him in jail!” I mean, we’ll see. Obviously, I’m not as well-versed on Swedish justice, but it definitely feels like Rocky and his crew are being solely blamed for some sh-t that wasn’t entirely their fault.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.