ASAP Rocky charged with assault in Sweden

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ASAP Rocky has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm in Sweden and will remain in custody until a trial takes place.

The rapper, real name Rakim Mayers, was arrested in Stockholm in early July. The two men arrested with him have also been charged with assault.

His arrest followed a fight that was captured on video, with ASAP claiming he had acted in self-defence against men who were following his group.

The trial is due to start on 30 July.

The Swedish prosecutor in charge says he decided a crime had been committed – despite claims of self-defence and provocation – after “studying the videos made available to the inquiry”.

“My evidence consists partly of a number of films that I will play in court. Some are known to the public and some are not,” Daniel Suneson told Radio 1 Newsbeat, referencing CCTV footage.

He added that the alleged victim’s statement was supported by witness statements.

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Assault causing actual bodily harm carries a maximum prison sentence of two years in Sweden.

ASAP Rocky has been held in custody since 3 July following an alleged assault which took place on 30 June.

“From the perspective of the individuals in this case it is of course an extremely long time – three weeks – in jail,” Mr Suneson said.

The prosecutor says his focus has been investigating the case “as quickly as possible” and that “three weeks of investigation time for an assault with three suspects” isn’t a long time.

The rapper’s detention in Sweden has attracted the attention of US President Donald Trump, who said he’d spoken to the Swedish Prime Minister after requests to intervene from Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian West.

Mr Suneson felt there was “an obvious risk that these three suspects would leave the country if they were released”.

“I can see the damage they would suffer from being detained, I can understand that, but it did not outweigh the risk that they would leave the country,” he said.

Asked specifically about Donald Trump’s intervention into the case, Mr Suneson said he hadn’t spoken to any White House representatives, or any representatives of the Swedish government, while investigating.

ASAP Rocky’s mum recently pleaded for his release, saying he “isn’t really eating properly” and suggesting he’s being made an example of.

Some have accused Swedish prosecutors of racism in relation to the case, including ASAP Rocky’s mum, but that’s something officials have denied, saying they have “no hidden agenda”.

White rapper G-Eazy claimed recently that ASAP Rocky’s three-week stay in a Swedish prison was an example of systemic racism.

G-Eazy was arrested in Sweden last year for assault, possession of drugs and use of narcotics.

After pleading guilty he was sentenced to probation, given a $10k fine, and released after a day-and-a-half.

Mr Suneson said he didn’t know all of the details of G-Eazy’s arrest, but suggested it was a “totally different case”.

“He admitted most of the things that he was accused of.

“I can see why that case only took a couple of days… you can’t compare them,” he said.

How ASAP Rocky’s arrest unfolded

A video published online appears to show ASAP Rocky punching another man in the street.

In videos posted to ASAP Rocky’s Instagram afterwards, he and the people he’s with repeatedly tell a pair of men to stop following them.

One of the men accuses the 30-year-old’s team of breaking his headphones.

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In the caption for the first video ASAP Rocky writes: “We don’t know these guys and we didn’t want trouble. They followed us for four blocks.”

In the second, he accuses the man of hitting his security guard “in the face with headphones”.

The 30-year-old was in Stockholm to perform at Smash festival.

But he’s spent the past month at Kronoberg prison while the alleged assault was investigated.

The prison’s boss defended conditions at the jail, after claims that walking into Kronoberg prison is like “walking into a toilet”.

He told Radio 1 Newsbeat ASAP Rocky was being held in “good conditions”.

Swedish prosecutors were twice granted more time to investigate, and had until 25 July to decide whether ASAP Rocky should be charged or released.

It’s led to multiple cancelled festival appearances and threats to boycott Sweden from some of his fellow artists.

There were initially two alleged victims in the case, but the prosecutor has dropped one of their cases due to a lack of evidence.

An alleged victim – who was also being investigated on suspicion of abuse, assault, and attempted assault – had his case closed on 22 July.

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