ATLANTA — A lawyer for T.I. says the Grammy-winning rapper never got to tell his side of the story to police before they arrested him after a pre-dawn attempt this week to enter his gated community near Atlanta.
T.I. was arrested early Wednesday after getting in an argument with a security guard, said Henry County Deputy Police Chief Mike Ireland. Media reports say the hip-hop artist, whose real name is Clifford Harris, had lost his key and the guard wouldn’t 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 attorney, Steve Sadow, issued a statement that his client had been “wrongfully arrested.” 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.”
Sadow said T.I. identified himself and sought entry, but the guard refused. The rapper contacted his wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, who confirmed that her husband should be allowed inside the community, according to his lawyer.
“The guard continued to refuse entry without justification,” Sadow said in a statement, referring to T.I. 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.”
Ireland said T.I. was arrested along with a friend.
T.I. 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 — he had been ordered not to commit a crime and not to illegally possess any controlled substances — and led to an 11-month prison sentence at an Arkansas prison.
Other than his arrest Wednesday, the rapper has stayed out of trouble in recent years. He’s been active in community outreach, focusing on youth programs for boys and girls. He also has served as one of 38 advisers for new Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ first 100 days in office.
In April, T.I. was among thousands who marched in a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The rapper also has taken part in a march in Atlanta against police-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans and in a protest against President Donald Trump in New York.
T.I. has expressed frustration over Trump’s posts on Twitter, but said he intends to focus on doing things that “affect our communities in a positive light.”
A year ago, the rapper said he only planned to release about two or three more albums, telling The Associated Press in an interview that it was “definitely time to transition.”
T.I.’s 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 his short film, “Us or Else,” which subsequently debuted on BET.
T.I., his wife and their children starred in the VH1 reality show “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle,” which debuted in 2011. The show’s final episode aired last year.
By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr., By Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC (A.S)