Atlanta rapper and actor T.I., who reinvented himself as a civic leader and political activist after years of trouble with the law, was arrested early Wednesday after an argument with a security guard outside his gated community in Henry County, authorities said.
The music star, whose legal name is Clifford Harris Jr., was arrested after returning to the Eagle’s Landing Country Club community around 4 a.m.
Via a live Instagram video, T.I. labeled the arrest “nonsense” and “small potatoes,” adding that God will take care of it. Later Wednesday, he told TheBlast.com that law enforcement in the county are “white cops in a very white area.”
The trouble unfolded after T.I. arrived at the gate outside his community to find the security guard sleeping. The guard at first refused to let rapper in but eventually admitted him, according to an incident report from Henry County police. T.I. then walked from his home back to the guard booth — a distance of more than a half-mile — and began to argue again with the guard, who called police. At some point, the rapper called a friend who eventually joined him.
T.I. was arrested on misdemeanor charges of simple assault, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. His friend, Marquinarius Holmes, 40, of Stockbridge, was arrested on outstanding charges out of Clayton County and for not having proof of car insurance, the sheriff’s office said.
T.I. was released from the Henry County Jail about 8 a.m. Wednesday after posting $2,250 bond.
Attorney Steve Sadow said his client “was wrongfully arrested” and accused the guard of refusing him entry into his own home after the superstar’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 on the scene and “wrongfully chose to end the situation by arresting” him. The police incident report said authorities offered him a chance to write a statement providing his side of the story but he declined.
PHOTOS: T.I. as community leader
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 he sent a bodyguard to purchase machine guns and silencers. He had struck a deal with prosecutors to perform 1,000 hours of community service, including visits with schoolchildren to speak out against violence, gangs and drugs.
The rapper 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. In October 2010, Pannell sentenced him to 11 more months in federal prison.
RELATED: T.I. opens new strip club
After his release, T.I. turned his life around.
He became the face of a protest against alleged discriminatory practices at Houston’s now-shuttered Lenox Road restaurant.
He lent his voice and celebrity to protests against police shootings and was one of numerous celebrities who stumped for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during a bitter runoff with opponent Mary Norwood. Bottoms later appointed T.I. to her transition team.
For the past 12 years, the rapper has handed out Thanksgiving turkeys to seniors in need as part of his non-profit organization, Harris Community Works; in December.
He starred in the 2016 remake of the miniseries “Roots,” acted alongside Jamie Foxx in the 2017 crime film, “Sleepless” and will appear in the upcoming Atlanta-filmed “Ant-man and The Wasp” as a member of Ant-Man’s crew.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.