911 call: Guard felt 'threatened' before T.I.'s arrest
In this Tuesday, April 25, 2017, photo, rapper T.I. tours the Mercedes Benz Stadium, the new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team under construction in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Published Thursday, May 17, 2018 2:28PM EDT
ATLANTA -- A security guard said he felt threatened during an argument with the rapper T.I. that led to the Grammy-winning hip-hop artist's arrest outside his gated community near Atlanta.
In a 10-minute phone call, the guard at Eagles Landing Country Club told a 911 dispatcher early Wednesday that a resident kept asking for his name and knocking on the guard shack door. The security guard acknowledged during the call he did not recognize the resident, who was identified as Clifford Harris, better known as T.I.
T.I. had lost his key and the guard wouldn't let him into the neighbourhood, said Henry County Deputy Police Chief Mike Ireland. The rapper was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and simple assault and then released on bail.
The rapper's attorney, Steve Sadow, issued a statement that his client had been "wrongfully arrested." Sadow said the guard was asleep when T.I. arrived and it took "some time to wake up the sleeping guard."
Sadow said T.I. identified himself and sought entry, but the guard refused. The rapper contacted his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, who confirmed that her husband should be allowed inside the community, according to his lawyer.
"The guard continued to refuse entry without justification," Sadow said in a statement, referring to T.I. as Tip. "Words were exchanged and apparently the guard and/or a supervisor called the police. When the police arrived, they were not interested in hearing Tip's side of the story and wrongfully chose to end the situation by arresting Tip."
The dispatcher heard T.I. yelling through the phone at guard Euwan James, a police report says. The guard claims he eventually let T.I. inside the neighbourhood.
James said T.I. drove home, then returned and said "Come outside so we can deal with this man to man." The security guard said he didn't know the intentions of the rapper, who he claims urged him to come out in the street.
T.I. used a loud voice with an officer before being arrested along with a friend, Marquinarius Holmes, who was cited for not having insurance on his vehicle, the police report stated. It said an officer smelled an "overwhelming" amount of alcohol on T.I.'s breath.
The report said T.I.'s eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and that he appeared aggravated when the officer spoke to him. The officer retrieved surveillance footage showing the rapper telling the security guard, Euwan James, that "there was no way around him."
T.I. is also shown yelling and saying James reports to him because he owns property in the neighbourhood, according to the police report.
T.I. is one of the biggest names in hip-hop, with multiple platinum-selling albums and singles, production credits and roles in films like "ATL" and "American Gangster."
He served about seven months in prison in 2009 after his arrest on federal gun charges.
He also spent about 10 months in federal prison on a probation violation in 2010 after he was arrested on drug charges in Los Angeles. The drug arrest violated his probation -- he had been ordered not to commit a crime and not to illegally possess any controlled substances -- and led to an 11-month prison sentence at an Arkansas prison.
Other than his arrest Wednesday, the rapper has stayed out of trouble in recent years. He's been active in community outreach, focusing on youth programs for boys and girls. He also has served as one of 38 advisers for new Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' first 100 days in office.
In April, T.I. was among thousands who marched in a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. The rapper also has taken part in a march in Atlanta against police-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans and in a protest against President Donald Trump in New York.
T.I. has expressed frustration over Trump's posts on Twitter, but said he intends to focus on doing things that "affect our communities in a positive light."
A year ago, the rapper said he only planned to release about two or three more albums, telling The Associated Press in an interview that it was "definitely time to transition."
T.I.'s hits include "What You Know," "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life." In 2016, he released the politically charged projects "Us or Else" and "Us or Else: Letter to the System." They served as inspiration for his short film, "Us or Else," which subsequently debuted on BET.
T.I., his wife and their children starred in the VH1 reality show "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle," which debuted in 2011. The show's final episode aired last year.