Details surrounding the arrest of A$AP Rocky in Sweden were being revealed on Tuesday after the rapper has spent a week in detention with reportedly squalid conditions. He was reportedly arrested after a show on July 2 and has been held in a Stockholm jail ever since following accusations of assault stemming from a fight that a bystander caught on video.
A petition has been started to get Rocky released from what TMZ reported was “shockingly inhumane conditions — feces hurled about and not cleaned up, wretched food and facilities that are not fit for human beings.” Many Twitter users have claimed that the arrest was racist in nature because Rocky and members of his entourage were allegedly defending themselves when the fight broke out.
The petition claims that Rocky and his entourage were forced to defend themselves “after two men followed, harassed and physically assaulted them in Stockholm.
According to a comprehensive timeline provide by Pitchfork, Rocky — real name Rakim Mayer, 30 — had been on a European tour when the fight broke out on June 30, with local media blaming the rapper. The very next day TMZ published the video of the fight, which purportedly showed Rocky and his entourage fighting against one other person.
Another video appeared to show Rocky trying to make peace before the fight started.
That led to Rocky posting videos to his Instagram account claiming he was “INNOCENT.”
Rocky reportedly surrendered to local authorities on July 2, when he “and his colleagues were arrested on-site,” the petition said. They were ultimately ordered to be kept in detention during a mandatory two-week investigation. As a result, Rocky has missed multiple tour dates as a result amid allegations that Swedish authorities were preventing him from meeting with American diplomatic officials. “Upon being detained, Rocky was denied his request to counsel which is in violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which Sweden is a signatory,” the petition said.
“On Monday, July 8th, we filed an appeal with the Swedish Supreme Court to have Rocky released from the inhumane conditions and the clear violation of human rights,” the petition said. “They rejected the filing, which means Rocky will remain in prison for two weeks. The conditions of the facility are horrific. Some of the inhumane conditions Rocky and his colleagues are facing at the Stockholm Detention Center include 24/7 solitary confinement, restriction of amenities for the most basic of human functions, access to palatable and life sustaining food as well as unsanitary conditions.”
The investigation, which doesn’t necessarily have to end after two weeks, will determine whether Rocky will go to trial.
Sweden has been dogged by its reputation for racism against Black people as well as other ethnic minorities in the country. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination released a report last year expressing concern for the rising levels of anti-Black racism in the Nordic country. That included “racist hate speech against Afro-Swedes, Jews, Muslims and Roma.” A subsequent report months later cited how rampant the use of the “n-word” in the country was.
Rocky’s predicament was reminiscent of fellow rapper Freddie Gibbs when he caught a rape charge while touring Austria in July of 2015. Rolling Stone reported that Gibbs spent “four months in French and Austrian jails” before “the Vienna regional court ultimately sided with the rapper in the case, determining that there was not enough evidence to prove that Gibbs had sex with the alleged victim.” In that case, Gibbs finally returned to the U.S. in September of 2016, more than a year after his arrest.
Like Sweden, Austria has a history of being called racist against Black people.