President Donald Trump has lambasted Sweden’s government for not forcing state prosecutors to free A$AP Rocky, after the U.S. rapper was caught on video committing what appeared to be a physical assault in Stockholm.
Swedish Prosecutor Daniel Suneson said on Thursday that evidence he’d seen meant that criminal proceedings would be started against A$AP Rocky and two of his associates. The three are “suspected of assault causing actual bodily harm,” Suneson said.
In a Tweet, Trump said he was “very disappointed” in Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven for not intervening. The U.S. president also implied Sweden owed the U.S., saying “We do so much for Sweden but it doesn’t seem to work the other way around.” Lofven has pointed out that the Swedish constitution bans the government and parliament from interfering in legal cases.
The president, who is facing allegations of racism at home after telling four U.S. Congress women of color to “go back” to the countries they came from, contacted Lofven last weekend at the urging of Kanye West. In that call, he offered to “personally vouch” for A$AP Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers. That included an offer to post bail, even though the legal tool doesn’t exist in Sweden.
A$AP Rocky was detained on July 2 for his alleged role in a street fight the night of June 30. Video of the episode obtained by TMZ appears to show the rapper and two associates punching and kicking a man, and court documents obtained by CNN allege they used a glass bottle as a weapon in the assault.
Lofven has pointed out to Trump that Sweden’s judiciary is independent, meaning politicians can’t intervene.
“In Sweden, everyone is equal before the law, including visitors from other countries,” Lofven told Swedish news service TT. “The Swedish government neither can, nor will, try to influence prosecutors or courts.”
Trump, who has repeatedly faced accusations of racism in the U.S. and whose treatment of migrants at the U.S. Mexico border has drawn widespread condemnation, said the Swedish government’s decision not to act in the case of A$AP Rocky means it has “let our African American Community down in the United States.”
A$AP Rocky’s lawyer told the celebrity news website that his client was acting in self-defense. Swedish public prosecutor Suneson said he had access to videos and other evidence in addition to the publicly available material that cast doubt on that explanation.
Suneson said he studied the videos made available to the inquiry, which he said was more than had “previously been available on the Internet.” In addition to video material, the injured party’s statements were supported by witnesses, Suneson said.
The rapper has considerable backing among Hollywood’s elite, with West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, leading a social media campaign to call for A$AP Rocky’s release.
Kardashian West, who has repeatedly met with the president to lobby for the release of incarcerated Americans, tweeted her gratitude for what she characterized as his commitment to justice reform.