Wu-Tang Clan rapper Method Man was pepper-sprayed and then arrested by police in
Memphis, Tenn., early Sunday morning during an impromptu autograph-signing session
that police say grew out of control.
The 27-year-old rapper, who pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of
obstructing traffic and resisting official detention, spent two hours in lockup before being
released on what police spokeswoman Debbie Hall described as "minimal" bail of less
Method Man (born Clifford Smith) entered the guilty plea in Shelby County General
Sessions Criminal Court. He was sentenced to a single day's jail term and released for
time served, court spokesman Charles Jackson said.
The incident began shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, when Method Man, in town for MTV's
Sports And Music Festival, began signing autographs at the intersection of Third Street
and Union Avenue, police said. The spontaneous signing then proceeded into Third
Street with a crowd of fans in tow, attracting the attention of officers.
When police saw that the rapper, known for such songs as
href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get- music/Method_Man/Bring_The_Pain.ram">"Bring The Pain"
music/Method_Man/Bring_The_Pain.ram">"Bring The Pain"(RealAudio
excerpt), had a bottle of what appeared to be alcohol in his hands, they approached him,
"He was walking between all three lanes of traffic, causing traffic to stop and enticing
bystanders to come into the street," she said. "When police approached, he refused to
stop, cursed police and ran to a restaurant."
The crowd then stepped in, Hall said, blocking police from following Method Man into the
restaurant. An officer confronted the member of the notorious Wu-Tang Clan outside the
adjoining Radisson Hotel.
"The officer was afraid that he was going to be struck with a hard plastic flashlight that
Smith had in his hands, so he sprayed him with pepper gas," Hall said.
After Method Man was taken into police custody, he spent two hours in Shelby County
jail and was released at 4 a.m. The jail time was counted as complete time served for the
single-day sentence imposed for the charges, Jackson said.
Neither Peter Frankel, the rapper's lawyer, nor Method Man's record company, Loud
Records, returned calls about the incident by press time.
The Memphis arrest was only the latest legal run-in for Method Man, who is scheduled to
release his second solo album, Tical 2: Judgment Day, on Nov. 17.
In October 1997, Method Man, Wu-Tang leader RZA (born Robert Diggs) and rapper
Redman were sued for $5 million by a woman who claims Method Man injured her when
he jumped from the stage during a 1995 concert outside Philadelphia. That case
remains at a standstill because, according to the plaintiff's lawyer, Neil Mittelman, they
have been unable to locate Method Man to serve him with court papers.
Meanwhile, in Tinley Park, Ill., the Wu-Tang Clan -- minus members Ol' Dirty Bastard
(born Russell Jones) and GZA (born Greg Grice) -- face a $2 million lawsuit brought in
October 1997 by a Loud Records employee who said the group beat him in a dressing
room during an August 1997 tour stop. In that case, only Method Man and RZA have thus
far been served with court papers, according to Jim Zouras, the plaintiff's lawyer.
Also, earlier this year, the New York City district attorney in Manhattan dropped
misdemeanor assault charges against Method Man.