A$AP Rocky‘s arrest on Wednesday seemed to come out of nowhere as most of the recent media coverage about the rapper has centered on the pregnancy of his superstar girlfriend Rihanna.
But reports suggest that Rocky’s arrest was months in the making as local law enforcement apparently built a case that culminated on Wednesday morning at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where he was returning from Rihanna’s native Barbados following the couple’s vacation.
According to NBC News, which first reported the arrest, Rocky, 33, was led out of LAX in handcuffs because he was identified as an alleged gunman in a shooting back in November. According to the alleged victim, Rocky pulled out a gun and fired at him multiple times on a Los Angeles street. The police report said in part that the victim thought his left hand was grazed by one of the bullets.
As such, Rocky was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, LAPD announced on Twitter. “The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration,” the department tweeted in a statement.
According to the state law, a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon carries a penalty of up to four years in county jail.
It was not immediately clear if there was any more evidence that compelled police to arrest Rocky as soon as he deboarded his private plane. But what was clear is that this is just the latest legal trouble the Harlem-based rapper, born Rakim Mayers, has found himself in. If this current case turns out to be serious, Rocky’s criminal past could play a role in determining his future.
Reports show Rocky has been arrested multiple times for allegations of violence beginning when he was a teenager.
He has openly recalled his experience as a 16-year-old serving a two-week sentence in the notorious New York City jail Rikers Island over a fight. In that instance, he said he was charged with attempted murder before the charges were reduced.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” he previously said during an interview with Rap Radar.
A couple of years later, Rocky went on to become a cult favorite rapper, staying out of trouble for a handful of years while making a name for himself on the entertainment scene.
But the streets seemingly came back calling his name with a vengeance in 2012 when he was arrested for what MTV News described at the time as a “street fight in NYC” for allegedly beating up paparazzi and grabbing their cameras. He was later sued in the case and pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny, a felony. Rolling Stone reported that Rocky, who was also charged with attempted robbery in the second degree and assault, was sentenced to three days of community service and forced to pay a $250 fine in that case.
Things got a bit more brutal the following year when Rocky was accused of slapping a female fan for blowing him a kiss during a concert. While the fan sued Rocky, a key witness never showed up in court and the charges were eventually dropped. That lawsuit was reportedly settled in 2015.
Things would be relatively quiet on the violent front for the rapper for the next few years.
But in 2019, a social media video reportedly showed Rocky involved in a street fight following a concert in Toronto. “In a brief clip, you can see Rocky, who is holding a bottle of champagne, barking at a man who is kneeling on the ground and holding his face,” hip-hop publication XXL reported at the time before adding later: “There’s no word on why Rocky had to lay hands on someone.”
Later that year, Rocky was arrested in Sweden in a high-profile case that required then-President Donald Trump’s intervention to secure his freedom and return him to the U.S. In that instance, Rocky was arrested after a concert and was held in a Stockholm jail following accusations of assault stemming from a fight that a bystander caught on video. Rocky was ultimately found guilty of assault in Sweden. The court gave him a conditional sentence that ruled out more jail time following weeks behind bars.
All of that led up to his arrest on Wednesday for alleged involvement in a November shooting in Los Angeles.
To be sure, accepting a police narrative about a Black suspect is never the prudent thing to do. That is especially true when it comes to the LAPD, which has a very real history of corruption in order to make false arrests.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.