| 5.7°C Belfast

Rapper TI claims wrongful arrest outside gated community

Police in Atlanta said the 38-year-old artist was charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and simple assault.

Rapper TI

A lawyer for TI says the Grammy-winning rapper never got to tell his side of the story to police before they arrested him after he tried to enter his gated community near Atlanta.

TI was arrested early on Wednesday after getting into an argument with a security guard, said Henry County Deputy Police Chief Mike Ireland.

Media reports said the hip-hop artist, whose real name is Clifford Harris, had lost his key and the guard would not let him into the complex.

Police said the 38-year-old artist was charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and simple assault and then released on bail.

The rapper’s lawyer, Steve Sadow, issued a statement that his client had been “wrongfully arrested”.

Mr Sadow said the community guard was asleep when his client arrived at the guardhouse and it took “some time to wake up the sleeping guard”.

The lawyer said TI identified himself and sought entry, but the guard refused. The rapper contacted his wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, who confirmed her husband should be allowed in, according to his lawyer.

“The guard continued to refuse entry without justification,” Mr Sadow said in a statement, referring to TI as Tip.

“Words were exchanged and apparently the guard and/or a supervisor called the police. When the police arrived, they were not interested in hearing Tip’s side of the story and wrongfully chose to end the situation by arresting Tip.”

Mr Ireland said TI was arrested with a friend.

TI is one of the biggest names in hip-hop, with multiple platinum-selling albums and singles, production credits and roles in films like ATL and American Gangster.

He served about seven months in prison in 2009 after his arrest on federal gun charges.

He also spent about 10 months in federal prison on a probation violation in 2010 after he was arrested on drug charges in Los Angeles. The drug arrest violated his probation and led to an 11-month prison sentence at an Arkansas prison.

The rapper had stayed out of trouble in recent years. He has been active in community outreach, focusing on youth programmes, and has served as one of 38 advisers for new Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ first 100 days in office.

In April, TI was among thousands who marched in a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.

He has also taken part in a march in Atlanta against police-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans and a protest against President Donald Trump in New York.

TI has expressed frustration over the president’s posts on Twitter, but said he intends to focus on doing things that “affect our communities in a positive light”.

His hits include What You Know, Whatever You Like and Live Your Life.

In 2016, he released the politically charged projects Us Or Else and Us Or Else: Letter To The System. They served as inspiration for a short film which subsequently debuted on BET.

TI, his wife and their children starred in the VH1 reality show TI & Tiny: The Family Hustle, which launched in 2011. The show’s final episode aired last year.