According to the Paris prosecutor’s office, Lil Baby was released from custody by Paris police on Friday. He had cannabis in his car and was being fined. He was also stopped by NBA star James Harden. They were both frisked, but not detained.
Fans of Lil Baby and high-profile Americans were shocked by Thursday’s arrest of Lil Baby along one of Paris’ most upscale avenues. This also raised questions about racial profiling within France.
The Grammy-nominated Atlanta rapper posted “I’m Good”, an Instagram post, saying that he was returning to the U.S. after his release.
Plainclothes officers stopped Harden, Lil Baby, and his bodyguard after they detected a strong odor of cannabis coming from their vehicle, according to a French officer who spoke under anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly.
According to the official, Lil Baby (real name Dominique Jones) initially refused to let police inspect the car. Because the Americans were not able to understand what was going on, it was quite tense. The official said that 32 grams of marijuana was found in the car by uniformed officers who arrived at the scene.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Lil Baby and her bodyguard were taken into custody under suspicion of transporting drug. They were released Friday morning after receiving fines.
Online video shows the plainclothes officer frisking a confused-looking Harden with his phone.
One student who was in the area reported seeing the chaos on what is usually a quiet street lined with luxury boutiques. Lance Avraham Pena, a witness, said that he saw Lil Baby, James Harden, and they were standing and being frisked.
Pena who captured a small portion of the scene said that the language appeared to be a problem and that police didn’t recognize them.
France’s Harden fans raised concerns about racial profiling online. The Paris police department seemed to refute suggestions that the arrest was baseless, tweeting that it was based upon an “infraction”. Both men were Black and the officers were white.
An attorney who researched French racial profiling asked: “Would a person of color have been stopped in the same way?” It’s not clear.
Slim Ben Achour, a lawyer, cited research that showed French whites are less likely to be stopped for drug offenses and fined or frisked. Research also revealed that police are more likely than ever to conduct identity checks on Black and Arab men living in areas known for their crime or where they are assumed not to belong.
Achour explained to The Associated Press that while you may be a millionaire, or a superstar, you still have this stigma. “Black Americans have their problems, but some believe Europe is better. They see that there are common problems.”
Lil Baby representatives did not respond to our requests for comment.
Lil Baby’s 2020 album, “My Turn,” topped the charts and reached No. His hit “The Bigger Picture” climbed to the No. 3 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts. It evokes George Floyd’s death and other police abuse. The opening frames of his Grammy video “Bigger Picture,” released earlier this year, show police forcing a Black man to get out of his car and wrestling him to the ground.
His collaboration album “The Voice of the Heroes”, which he released with Lil Durk, debuted at No. This year, he ranked No. 1. Other hits include “Yes Indeed,” featuring Drake and “Drip Too Hard.” He was also awarded best male hip-hop artist at the BET Awards this year and was named artist the year at last year’s Apple Music Awards.
Harden posted photos online shortly before the arrest of his two Parisian friends, but has not commented publicly on the incident.
Harden was the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player. He played for the Houston Rockets before joining this season’s Nets. While he briefly offered to play for the U.S. men’s national team at Tokyo Olympics, he has since stated that the hamstring injury which afflicted him during the NBA playoffs will not allow him to do so.