Civilian watchdog invokes Taylor Swift while grilling LAPD chief over Killer Mike's Grammys arrest

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Did race play a role in rapper Killer Mike‘s arrest at the 2024 Grammy Awards? That’s what the Los Angeles Police Commission contemplated on Tuesday.

Rasha Gerges Shields, a commissioner for the department’s civilian watchdog, raised the issue during a meeting Tuesday morning, after police Chief Michel Moore‘s briefing on the rapper’s arrest. Shields said it seemed from her vantage point that Killer Mike’s race — he is Black — played a role in the officers’ decision Sunday to take him into custody and march him out of the arena in handcuffs.

“Because frankly, I have a very hard time believing that Taylor Swift [who is white] would’ve been treated in the same way,” she said, adding that she was concerned that police were being asked to intervene in situations that were informed by other people’s prejudices.

Killer Mike (real name Michael Render) was placed under arrest at Arena in downtown Los Angeles shortly after 4 p.m. He was booked for misdemeanor battery.

The Times learned that the Run the Jewels musician and newly minted Grammy winner was involved in an alleged altercation with a venue security guard. A source close to the investigation said the dust-up broke out after the guard tried to keep Killer Mike and his crew from passing through an area in the venue.

In the alleged confrontation, the security guard was knocked to the ground and injured her hand in the fall. She requested a citizen’s arrest for the rapper, and police were called to the scene.

On Tuesday, Moore denied that race played a role in the incident and defended the arresting officers’ actions, saying that under state law they were required to respect a citizen’s arrest request.

Video of the 48-year-old musician being escorted by at least two LAPD officers went viral on social media, less than an hour before the 2024 Grammys aired live on CBS. At the pre-show ceremony, Killer Mike won three Grammy categories, including rap album for his 2023 release “Michael.” He also took home rap performance and rap song wins, which he shared with André 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane.

“I’m a Black man in America and as a kid, I had a dream to become a part of music and that 9-year-old … is excited in me right now,” he said upon accepting the rap performance Grammy.

The morning after the Grammys, the Atlanta star appeared on V103’s “Big Tigger Morning Show” where he downplayed his arrest. He said he “hit a speed bump then we [got] back to the party.”

In a Monday statement shared with the Associated Press, Killer Mike attributed the Sunday incident to “an over-zealous security guard.”

“As you can imagine, there was a lot going and there was some confusion around which door my team and I should enter,” he said. “My team and I have the upmost confidence that I will ultimately be cleared of all wrongdoing,” he continued.

He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 29 in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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