Paris police release rapper Lil Baby, hand him drug fine
Paris police released rapper Lil Baby from custody on Friday after fining him for having cannabis in his car, according to the city prosecutor’s office. He was stopped along with NBA star James Harden, who was frisked but not detained.
Lil Baby’s arrest on Thursday along one of the French capital’s most upscale avenues shocked fans of both high-profile Americans in town for Paris Fashion Week. It also resurfaced questions about racial profiling in France.
After his release, the rapper posted on Instagram “I’m Good” and said that he was heading back to the US.
Plain-clothes police stopped Harden, Lil Baby and his bodyguard because a strong smell of cannabis was coming from their car, according to a French police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to be publicly named.
The official said that Lil Baby, whose real name is Dominique Jones, initially refused to allow police to check the car. The situation was tense because the Americans did not understand what was happening. Uniformed officers then arrived and proceeded to search the car, finding 32 grams of cannabis, according to the official.
Lil Baby and the bodyguard were taken into custody on suspicion of transporting drugs and released Friday morning after being handed fines, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Video of the incident shared online shows a plain-clothes officer frisking a confused-looking Harden while he holds his phone.
A student in the area described seeing the ruckus on what is normally a quiet avenue, lined with luxury boutiques. “I turned my head, and it was unbelievable. I saw Lil Baby and James Harden ... they are standing and are being frisked,” said the witness, Lance Avraham Pena.
Language appeared to pose a problem, and police didn’t recognise the two Americans, said Pena, who filmed a bit of the scene.
A representative for Lil Baby did not respond to requests for comment.
Harden posted photos online soon before the arrest of the two friends at various Paris locales.