A$AP Rocky’s Swedish assault trial started today & it’s already a mess

Rapper A$AP Rocky (ASAP Rocky, Rakim Mayers) arrives at The Recording Academy And Clive Davis' 2019 Pre-GRAMMY Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 9, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Xavier Collin/Imag

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.

[From The Daily Mail]

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.

ASAP Rocky dashes out of Kelly Rowland's Halloween party at Poppy

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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60 Responses to “A$AP Rocky’s Swedish assault trial started today & it’s already a mess”

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  1. C_LaLa says:

    At ANY POINT during the whole harassment debacle, A$AP or ANY of his crew could have called the police. Or they could have gone into a cafe or bar and told them about the harassment, and some swedish people would have called the police… I legit do not wish anything well for the victim, he seems like a total jackass. But that whole “he was provoked” defense is bull, IMO. If you get carried away and turn to violence yourself, you need to pay the consequences. Also, according to the prosecutor, the videos that A$AP released on Instagram, the ones from TMZ, are heavily edited and conveniently excluded the part where THEY USED A BOTTLE OR PART OF A BOTTLE to beat the victim. Again, I think the victim is a POS, but the claim that A$AP is being treated unfairly is untrue (IMO).

    • ByTheSea says:

      Rocky can be treated unfairly AND still be at fault. Not mutually exclusive. The fact that the “victim” was not charged with anything when he was clearly involved reeks. Looks like Swedish law enforcement is looking to make an example of Rocky. (That being said, Rocky is a deplorable human being who has refused to speak up against bias and/or in support of Black Lives Matter. He has also denigrated black women — repeatedly. So, normally, I’d be eff him. But this is unfair.)

      • LadyT says:

        The victim did not cause bodily injury. Who wants the court system dealing with thrown headphones?
        In my opinion it’s pertinent, but only to somewhat explain, not excuse, Rocky’s alleged assault of him.

    • Beth says:

      Just because you have had run ins with the law does not mean you can’t be a victim.

      Just because you’re being harassed doesn’t mean you can beat someone up with a weapon.

      Calling the men who were beaten up “instigators” sounds like work from the PR team ASAP Rocky hired. Jafari and his friend seem like a-holes, but this was an egregious use of force exerted by individuals with absolutely no remorse (they filmed it, and have been claiming to be the victims since). It’s not even the violence that bothers me so much as the fact that they thought it was a good idea to film and post online. That fact makes it seem like they wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

    • maryna says:

      Agreed: he is not being treated at all unfairly under Swedish law. To complain he’s being treated somehow poorly is to be ignorant and disrespectful of a foreign legal system—-one which is more just and humane (IMO) than the “justice” system of the United States.

  2. Eliza says:

    Swedish law may seem odd for a country with stand your ground being legal in states, but it’s only legal for equal force in self defense. He was being harassed, and his friend was struck with headphones. He involved himself in the fight with more violence than was put on him. He was also found in possession. While many agree with his actions of defending himself he didn’t do it within the bounds of Sweden’s laws.

    I’m not sure what the outcome will be but even if found guilty it will be such a minimal sentence. It’s not a federal crime, it’s just how their system works. No bail. Quick trials.

    • Jellybean says:

      We all know that if this was the US they could have shot the guy and got away with it because they claimed that they ‘feared for their lives’, I would rather get in trouble with the police in Sweden than the US – not that I intend to turn to crime at this point in my life.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Doubtful that an African-American man could shoot his assaulter & get away with it by using ‘I was afraid for my life’. Those stupid ‘stand your ground’ laws (not every state has one!) most likely don’t apply to African-Americans, unless they’re on the receiving end.

  3. Morella says:

    Sweden is a well-functioning democracy with a legal system that works just fine. The trial is most definitely not a mess. A group of people cannot just beat up a person without consequences. The trial will be perfectly fair.

  4. Beyonce_PadThai says:

    We’re so used to the “stand your ground” defense where you can actually kill someone if you believe your life is in danger and it’s a well meaning law, but it also gives permission to those feeling attacked to TAKE IT WAY TO FAR like ASAP & his bodyguards did. It was self defense until it wasn’t. That’s what I think Swedish prosecutors are trying to say, yes it was provoked, but at the point where they were incapacitated, ASAP and his bodyguard should have stopped and called the police. There were other alternatives instead of the DEGREE of violence they resorted to.

    • Mia4s says:

      “Bodyguards” my ass. Professional bodyguards don’t beat down people with bottles AND let their client join in! They would focus on proportional response and neutralization and most importantly removing their client from the situation! I’m assuming these were a few buddies he wanted to take along for free so gave them this title. He wouldn’t be the first celebrity to do so. Bodyguard is an important and actual profession and not something to cheap out on. Make your friends assistants or some nonsense. No way these guys were legit.

      • Still_Sarah says:

        I have been wondering about the “bodyguards” too. IMO, professional bodyguards would have removed their client from the threat area and gotten him somewhere safe. Not engaged with the “victims” and let their client join in. That simply upped the risk to A$AP Rocky. What the hell were these guys doing?

  5. sara6 says:

    Why wasn’t G-Easy arrested for drug possession and assault earlier this year? He was white. That’s why. swedes in the comment section, please don’t pretend you don’t have a racism issue. Ask any black tourist to that part of the world and they’ll have story after story of overt racism. The youngest alleged victim is disturbed. I hope he gets him.

    • Lana says:

      G-Eazy pleaded guilty to drug & assault charges

    • Mia4s says:

      That G-eazy guy WAS arrested and pled guilty. He took a deal. This guy pled not guilty, he gets a trial. It’s not rocket science. (I’m not Swedish by the way). Every place on earth has issues with racism and prejudice but sorry, not seeing it here. He maintains his innocence, he gets his day in court. That’s the way it goes.

      • Still_Sarah says:

        I used to practice criminal defence law and I always told my client that the quickest way to deal with their criminal charge(s) was to plead guilty and take whatever deal the prosecutor was offering. That ended it really quickly with 1-2 court appearances. But if you didn’t like the deal being offered and wanted something different (better), then sit down because this was going to take a while. Even if it didn’t go to trial, negotiating would take time. If the other (white) rapper took a deal and pled guilty, of course his case ended quickly. A$AP Rocky wanted a trial as was his right but that means it’s going to take longer.

    • C_LaLa says:

      G-easy pleaded guilty to possession and assault, which is why he was processed quickly and had to pay a fine. But feel free to go off for no reason, I guess.

    • Oliviajoy1995 says:

      I think G-Eazy was arrested. However he only spent a day and a half in their jail because he plead guilty and paid the fine quickly.

    • Angela says:

      “He was white. That’s why.”

      Uh. Not exactly. He plead guilty and no trial. ASAP has plead not guilty therefore he goes to trial. That’s…how it works there.

  6. Erinn says:

    My issue with this case isn’t so much that he was charged… but that he was charged after others have done similar things and gotten off.

    • Brunswickstoval says:

      Erinn in Sweden? I’m not familiar with other cases but I know nothing of what goes on in Sweden.

      • Mia4s says:

        People keep citing that G Eazy person (a white musician), forgetting that he was out quickly because he pled guilty and took a deal. This guy has pled not guilty, so he goes to trial to defend his case. Not a one to one analogy at all.

    • Angela says:

      That other rapper (is it G-Eazy or G-Easy?) got off because he plead guilty. ASAP did not.

    • Lindsay says:

      OJ killed two people in cold blood and got off. That isn’t a reason to stop prosecuting murderers. Sometimes people get away with breaking the law because of privilege, lack of evidence, technicalities, witness tampering ect. It doesn’t have any bearing on other cases. Blackstones’s ratio: It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. Courts should err on the side of innocence and sometimes that means criminals get away with things.

      He broke the law, they say they have ample evidence to prosocute, and now he is getting a trial. That is exactly how the system is supposed to work.

  7. Lightpurple says:

    There is no such thing as a perfect victim. Rocky’s getting his trial, rather quickly by US standards. If he broke the law, he should face the consequences. I have every faith that the Swedish justice system will function as it is intended to do. My passport says that when I travel abroad, the US government will not come to my defense if i break the laws of the countries I visit.

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    I just think the whole thing seems like it was staged.

  9. LadyLaw says:

    Crazy situation.

    The thing that is interesting to me is that on the video you can hear ASAP saying they are being “harassed by a bunch of drug addicts” and every seeming objective piece of evidence seems to support that. Drug conviction. Video showing them breaking their own glasses by throwing them at ASAP’s bodyguard.

    At the very least why weren’t these individuals also charged?

    • Leducduswaz says:

      The video that was released publicly was edited to bias against the victims. The prosecutors have the full, unedited video, as well as other security camera footage that hasn’t been released publicly yet. Let’s not jump to any conclusions either way until we’ve seen all the evidence.

    • Josie says:

      If you are harassed by people under the influence of drugs, you call the police. I can see why A$AP didn’t do this, but it’s still unlawful to assault someone. In Sweden, self-defence = pushing someone so you can run away to safety.

  10. rosamund12 says:

    That’s an interesting observation about the Swedish lawyers. I think most of the world feels that America assumes a privileged position when interacting with other countries. Part of the American mythology is that they are always “the good guy”, so for instance they should not be subject to international courts. They pull out of one international treaty after another, and citizens of smaller countries feel more and more helpless. Even the big smaller countries! And when the president apparently feels that he can somehow pull rank on Sweden as though he’s the richest dad at a posh boys’ school, it’s not surprising the Swedes would get their backs up. Hilarious– since Trump sure wouldn’t be giving the guy this kind of sweetheart treatment stateside!

    • JAC says:

      They were never charged for the numorous war crimes they commited, and they would if they could be trialed in international courts.

  11. Josie says:

    Let’s be real, IF he gets a prison sentence it will be very short, and in Sweden, the time spent in jail counts as part of your prison time. It’s actually worth double — 1 day in jail = 2 days off your prison sentence. Getting prison is rather unusual here, though, and we won’t know whether A$AP can be proven guilty until the trial is done.

    That being said, the point isn’t whether he’s guilty or not, but rather should he be arrested, put in jail or tried in court. The answer is yes, because he is suspected of a crime. I really don’t get why Americans and/or American media finds this upsetting.

  12. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Is it just me, or does he have a Denzel-like gaze about him?

  13. Liten says:

    I think this will probably be handled more accuratly by the law then most cases. With this much attention on it in + once the court has ruled it will all be public information. So anyone can see for themselves, both the ruling but also the protocol from the investigation. Any issues with any of those are open to public scrutiny from the whole world.

  14. Dani says:

    Rocky, Jafari and his friend are all guilty to the same level in my opinion and should all be held to the same punishment/standard. Has nothing to do with race or citizenship status (since neither 3 are white or from Sweden).

  15. Reader says:

    Self defense is only legal to the extent that your remedy (your act of self defense) does not exceed the tort against you, and that the victim attempts to flee from the perpetrator, and attempts to contact authorities. For example, you can’t shoot a person brandishing a baseball bat.

    Only in America do I hear of the old west style law system where you can shoot first, make up a story later, just because you can.

  16. Pixie says:

    Honestly, I am surprised the trial is already underway. I think Americans have very little room to critique the Swedish justice system considering they’re clearly leaps and bounds ahead of the racist, classist and corrupt American system. Now, there is no doubt in my mind that ASAP being a young, black, rapper from America isn’t exactly helping him at this stage, but I am hopeful he will get a fair trial. Especially, considering the international attention this has been getting. I also hope this is an eye opening experience for him, because it was just a couple years ago he was saying he didn’t care about the plight of black people as it didn’t affect his life…guess that didn’t work out so well for him.

  17. Susan says:

    Why is there any controversy at all? If it’s true that there is some evidence that mitigates guilt, it will be dealt with at trial. What I don’t get is why people are so quick to defend ASAP Rocky from the charges before the trial has even happened. He is getting his day in court and far quicker than in most countries.

    It would be different if he were already convicted and he wasn’t allowed to defend himself but that’s not what’s happened.

  18. Angela says:

    Sweden isn’t America. Stand your ground laws aren’t the norm anywhere else. He violently beat the shit out of somebody.

  19. InsertNameHere says:

    There are so many “they should’ve called the police” comments, but there seems to be a disconnect in understanding that Rocky (an American) is Black, and in the US calling the cops may not end well for people who look like him – even when they’re the victim. That may not be a social/cultural norm in Sweden, but definitely is in the US – and we take our cultural norms with us when we travel. Do I think Rocky’s team took it too far? Sure. Do I think this case is weird and messy? Absolutely. But for all the questions that exist, why calling the cops wasn’t Rocky’s first thought definitely isn’t one of them.

    • N says:

      ‘That may not be a social/cultural norm in Sweden, but definitely is in the US – and we take our cultural norms with us when we travel.’
      I keep going back to this thought. What would the word be for this? Is it a certain parochialism that we possess?

    • Bebe says:


    • Irishgal says:

      Yea…. taking your cultural norms with you when you travel isn’t a great idea. You respect the laws and cultures of the countries you visit. Just as people visiting America have to do when we visit your country

      • sarphati says:

        I totally agree. When I visit friends in Amsterdam, they are mortified at the idea of asking for a doggie bag. You don’t have a dog, they say. And what will the server think of you? So, when I am there, I resist the urge to take my half-eaten meal with me. I am making an effort to respect the culture I am in at the time. However, things change and now my friends see the wisdom of being able to take home a meal that they can share with their dog.

      • WTF says:

        I agree with you, but I think InsertNameHere’s point is that this was a quick and visceral response. He likely acted on instinct. I don’t excuse him at all. And honestly I think all the hoopla is funny considering what a jerk this dude is. But I take her point about a Black American male not thinking to call the police.

  20. Erin says:

    As an black American living in Stockholm for the last five years I have complete faith in the Swedish system. The only thing that is a mess
    Is Americans worrying about this man. He will be prosecuted fairly and serve the rather comparatively lenient punishment for his crime. Our America system
    Is so broken that we look at other countries through the lens of how we view our own system. My home state of California has more people incarcerated than all of Northern Europe combined, If you want to talk about messy.

    • Lisa says:

      The alleged “victims” were in fact trouble makers. They were asked nicely many times to stop following the entourage. These two young men were obnoxious. They were slapping the asses of women and they were out looking for trouble. One of these guys was arrested after the ASAP Rocky incident for stealing and he was found to have a knife on him. They should both be in prison and the Swedish government should protect their population from the likes of these criminals. They have a long list of crimes that they have committed in the past. They are not to be trusted. For sure, these two will commit more and more crimes once they are released from prison. It is a travesty to have arrested ASAP Rocky. Shame on Sweden and on their “unjust” justice system.

      • Reader says:

        The “security guards” had the “alleged victim” on the ground when ASAP Rocky allegedly kicked/bottled him. That’s unnecessary assault. Full stop. Someone using harassing words would be an irritant, but does not deserve a beating.

      • crogirl says:

        Please, if Rocky pulled something like this in the US he’d probably be dead. You can’t just beat someone and not expect consequences. Noone is denying those guys were harrasing him, but he used unnecessary force.

  21. Ashley G says:

    I don’t know Swedish law, I would expect it being maybe even better than America because it’s a socialist country but any good lawyer would take the credibility of those two men and work it against them. Two men instigated a wealthy rapper for fun because they’re thugs who came to Sweden and took advantage of their system by then going on to do a host of crimes. Come on. History of knife crime and theft? Perhaps ASAP feared for his life or his property. This is just too easy. Get a jury with a leaning towards racism or nationalism and you are set.

  22. Ishqthecat says:

    Working in the Swedish criminal justice system for 15 yrs. This case is a standard drunken brawl out on the town. Nothing messy or unusual about this case or the trial. I see guys (all manner of colours/denominations/nationalities) in the same situation here every day of the week- a couple of guys picking a fight and the provoked party giving to them. Almost always alcohol and drugs involved which clouds everyone’s judgement. You simply aren’t allowed to beat people up in Sweden even if they call you names or throw headphones at you. If someone tried to strangle you with the headphone cord or threw a knife that would be a different situation- the assault charges would be more likely be dropped. The only odd thing about this case is the US president trying to get involved in an absolutely standard bar fight because one party is a rich and famous American. Very proud that our system is handling this in the same way as we do all the poor, no-name dudes who end up in similar brawls every Friday and Saturday night and who don’t have a president/Kimye to give our PM a call on their behalf!

  23. Americano says:

    Why do people keep bringing up who started it? These are grown adults, not 5 year old children. Just as it is an unacceptable excuse for children, it is even more unacceptable for adults. Can we stop making excuses for the guy? Honestly, for all of you making this argument, would you beat up a person in a foreign country over something like this? I would hope not. It’s just plain stupid.