A$AP Rocky took the stand Thursday to testify in a Swedish courtroom that his actions during a violent confrontation with another man were out of self-defense.
The 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two companions have been charged with assault stemming from the June 30 incident. They have been in custody in Stockholm since July 3. A$AP Rocky pleaded not guilty in court to the charges Tuesday.
Giving his first testimony Thursday afternoon, A$AP Rocky said that “everything [had] seemed to be going fine” when two men approached him and his companions. One of the men, 19-year-old Mustafa Jafari, started talking to his security guard. “Next thing I know, my security guard was lifting one of them,” the rapper testified, adding that the situation “got a little scary.”
“We didn’t want to provoke these guys. We just wanted to get away from them,” A$AP Rocky told the court, saying that they tried to walk away but that Jafari and his friend continued to follow them.
His testimony followed the prosecution’s release of surveillance footage from a nearby hamburger restaurant which appeared to show the security guard lift Jafari up by the throat before dropping him to the ground. The prosecutor, Daniel Suneson, said that similar footage of the incident was misleadingly edited by A$AP Rocky’s team for Instagram to back up their self-defense claim and that the unedited version “disproves the use of emergency defense.”
But A$AP Rocky said that edits to the video were made only to take out the “N-word.” “Us melanin Americans tend to use the N-word excessively,” the rapper testified.
According to media reports, A$AP Rocky testified that his bodyguard knows he has to protect him at all costs but that he is not a naturally violent person. “You got to realize my life is very unique and particular,” said A$AP Rocky, describing how he had previously been stabbed in the face and twice robbed at gunpoint. “I don’t know what to expect when being approached by strangers. That’s why I have security.”
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