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Did A$AP Rocky Really 'Assault' Fan at Concert?

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 05, 2013 3:52 PM

Rapper A$AP Rocky has been charged with assault after allegedly smacking a female fan during a performance at the Made in America festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend.

But did the rapper actually commit assault, or was the fan just a hater?

A$AP's Alleged A$sault

In Pennsylvania, A$AP Rocky would be guilty of assault if he:

  • Attempted to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to another;
  • Negligently caused bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
  • Physically attempted to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

When Rocky was moving through the crowd, fans were tugging at his clothes (battery!). The rapper was none too pleased with the grabbing and tried to shoo the fondle-friendly fans away by making a swatting motion. He allegedly ended up smacking a woman in the face, reports TMZ.

The victim claimed that she suffered "whiplash" from the stinging swat, which would count as a bodily injury.

After the incident, Rocky was "slapped" with a misdemeanor assault charge.

Intent Requirement

The biggest issue here is Rocky's intent -- or lack thereof.

In order to commit an assault, a person must have "general intent." This means you can't accidentally assault someone. But if you acted recklessly and intended the actions that resulted in the assault, you could be on the hook for assault.

In A$AP Rocky's case, if a reasonable person would consider a swatting motion directed at a sea of doting fans dangerous, then that could possibly be enough to support assault charges -- even if Rocky didn't intend to cause "whiplash" to that particular fan.

An intent to scare or frighten someone can also be enough to establish assault charges. So if Rocky was trying to scare the fans into letting go of his shirt, then he could be in trouble.

But in all likelihood, the rapper was just trying to shake 'em off. If that's the case, A$AP Rocky's criminal defense lawyer will most likely be able to successfully swat the assault charges in court, ASAP.

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