NEW YORK — Still steaming over what he considers a false arrest, Fabolous plans to sue the city of New York for $5 million, according to a notice filed by his lawyer.
The rapper, whose real name is John Jackson, was arrested March 24 on criminal weapons possession charges following a performance at Webster Hall. After the show, police stopped the van the rapper was traveling in and found a loaded 9 mm handgun.
Fabolous and four other people in the van were arrested on weapons charges, including bodyguard Rodger Renrick of Brooklyn. Renrick claimed the gun was his own and provided proof of ownership as well as a license to carry it, Fabolous' attorney, Alberto Ebanks, said. Despite the fact that Renrick's license is good only in Massachusetts, the bodyguard's claim of ownership should have resolved the charges against Fabolous and his companions, Ebanks said.
In a March 27 letter obtained by MTV News, Ebanks urged prosecutor Rob Wallack to reconsider the case against his client, providing a firearm purchase transaction form as further proof of Renrick's ownership of the weapon. He also wrote, "This unwarranted arrest has tarnished my client's image, may affect his present and pending endorsements and will certainly have a negative impact on his long-term marketability and earning potential. ... More importantly, as our client is an icon to many young and impressionable fans, this unjustified prosecution could potentially glamorize a lifestyle that Mr. Jackson neither maintains nor condones."
That plea went unheeded, and so, as required of anyone planning to sue a municipality, Fabolous filed a notice of claim in June that essentially notifies the city of New York that he intends to sue. His complaints include false imprisonment, false arrest, police misconduct, malicious prosecution, abuse of authority and process, violation of civil rights, failure to investigate in a lawful manner, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and violation of civil rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the New York State Constitution.
The arrest was made by the NYPD's music task force. "The actions and motivations of the music task force are questionable," Ebanks said. "The law requires that police act on probable cause if someone commits or is about to commit a crime. Police action on anything short of this is impermissible, intolerable and illegal."
Police said they were responding to a call from a security guard who witnessed Fabolous and his entourage turn around at the club's metal detectors, head back to the van and put a gun in the vehicle.
A representative for New York's comptroller said the office could not comment on pending cases, and a representative for the NYPD's legal bureau said the department would reserve comment until the actual suit has been filed.
Fabolous was also picked up on weapons charges in New York in January when police pulled over a vehicle he was riding in and found two guns (see "Fabolous Arrested Twice In Two Days"). That case will be heard in September.
For more on the NYPD's music task force, check out the feature "Hip-Hop Cops: Is The NYPD At War With Hip-Hop?"