Chelsea Prince, Jennifer Brett and Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta rapper and actor T.I., who reinvented himself as an activist and political force after time in federal prison and years of trouble with the law, was arrested early Wednesday outside his gated community in Henry County, authorities said.
After T.I. woke up the guard and asked to be let in because he didn’t have his keys, James initially refused, the report states. James said T.I. started using profanity and yelled at him to open the gate, the report said. James eventually opened the gate and let T.I. in, but T.I. told police James wouldn’t give him his name or his supervisor’s name when asked.
After T.I. parked his car at his home, he walked back to try to get James’ name, the report said. James said T.I. threatened him and said “come outside so we can deal with this man to man.”
The officer said in the report that he smelled “overwhelming” alcohol on T.I.’s breath, and that the rapper admitted he had a drink while walking back to the guard’s shack.
Police said that, at some point, T.I. called a friend who eventually joined him.
Later Wednesday, he told TheBlast.com that law enforcement officers in the county are “white cops in a very white area.”
He was released from the Henry County Jail about 8 a.m. Wednesday after posting $2,250 bond. He did not appear before a judge.
In a statement to the AJC, attorney Steve Sadow said T.I. “was wrongfully arrested” and accused the guard of refusing him entry after the rapper’s wife confirmed he “should be let in immediately.”
According to Sadow, police were not interested in hearing T.I.’s side of the story when they arrived at the scene and “wrongfully chose to end the situation by arresting” him. Henry County police did not directly address the comments from T.I.’s attorney.
T.I.’s past encounters with the law are well-documented.
U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell Jr. sentenced him to a year and a day in prison for an October 2007 incident in which T.I. sent a bodyguard to purchase machine guns and silencers.
An extraordinary deal shaved nearly four years off a potential sentence, provided T.I. perform 1,000 hours of community service. The service included visits with schoolchildren to speak out against violence, gangs and drugs.
T.I. finished his time in prison and a halfway house and was still on probation when he was arrested Sept. 1, 2010, in Los Angeles.
He and his wife, R&B singer Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, were taken into custody during a traffic stop in West Hollywood in which deputies said they smelled a strong odor of marijuana from inside the car. They were soon released on bond.
Then-U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said she supported the initial deal and believed T.I. had reached large numbers of youth. But Yates told Pannell that the rapper already had submitted two diluted urine samples before his arrest and initially lied to a probation officer about the five pills of Ecstasy found in his pocket when he was arrested. After his arrest, T.I. tested positive for opiates, Yates said. Pannell sentenced him in October 2010 to 11 more months in prison.
After his release, T.I. turned his life around, lending his voice and celebrity to discussions about a growing number of police shootings of unarmed black men.
From 2011 to 2017, he and his family starred in the VH1 reality show “T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle.” For six seasons, show chronicled the rapper’s life at home with Cottle and their blended family.
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