Rapper Rick Ross in no stranger to the criminal justice system. In fact, he actually worked as a corrections officer in Florida for 18 months. (He initially vehemently denied his employment record when it became public, but eventually did admit it.)
Now, according to a recent article from Alabama's News Leader, Ross is on the other side of the system. He was just arrested on kidnapping and assault charges. Authorities say Ross forced a man into the guesthouse at his mansion located in an Atlanta suburb. After he had the man in the guesthouse, he allegedly beat the man in the head with a pistol, resulting in chipped teeth and a severely damaged jaw. Authorities say the victim is unable to chew food as of this time.
The United States Marshals Service fugitive task force and the local sheriff's office deputies went to Ross' mansion to take him into custody on a felony warrant. After being taken into custody, Ross was taken to the county jail and held without bond on charges of kidnapping and aggravated battery related to the alleged guesthouse incident. Authorities have also charged Ross' bodyguard with kidnapping and assault charges, according to the warrant.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service said when they arrived at the mansion, which was formerly owned by champion boxer Evander Holyfield, they announced themselves at the front gate. However, the occupants allegedly refused to open the gate, so the federal agents forced their way past the locked security gate. When they reached the front door to the mansion, they again announced their presence and asked the occupants to open the door, so they did not have to knock it down, as they had the gate. This time, the occupants decided to comply with the deputy Marshals and opened the door. Both Ross and his bodyguard surrendered themselves to the task force without further incident.
Ross was charged with aggravated assault because of his alleged use of a firearm during the commission of an assault. As our Birmingham criminal defense attorneyscan explain, by alleging a crime was committed while defendant was armed, armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon, or in an assault that was aggravated, prosecutors can enhance the maximum and mandatory minimum penalties of certain criminal offenses. The use of a firearm is an aggravating factor that almost always leads to stiffer punishment.
However, it is important to understand that committing an assault while armed with a firearm is not necessarily the same thing as attacking someone with the firearm, even if prosecutors like to overlook these distinctions. In some situations, the distinctions do not matter, and, at other times, they do. Prosecutors often overcharge defendants, either to bully them into a plea deal or to inflame the jury.
It should be noted that neither Ross nor his bodyguard has been convicted of any crime in connection with the gatehouse incident, and both are innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.
Meanwhile, authorities are also saying this was the not first time Ross was arrested in the county this month, and was previously picked up on misdemeanor possession of marijuana charges.
Rapper Rick Ross arrested on kidnapping, assault charge, June 2015, Alabama's News Leader