Lil Boosie, also known ad Boosie BadAzz, claims he was a victim of racial profiling after he was reportedly pepper sprayed multiple times by a white guard at a mall in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2017.
The Associated Press reports the rapper, whose real name is Torrance Hatch Jr., has filed a federal lawsuit against the security firm that services the mall, Dillard's department store (the store where the incident occurred), the Biloxi Police Department and the Biloxi police officer at the scene of the incident.
The lawsuit alleges a security guard at the mall, Glen Kerley, began an altercation with members of the rapper's entourage shortly after they entered Dillard's on April 9, 2017. Boosie had about 20 friends and family members with him.
Kerley was reportedly called to the store after someone complained about an "unruly crowd." According to the rapper, fans approached him in the store, but he denies the group grew into anything unruly.
In the suit, Boosie claims Kerley used pepper spray on at least three members of his group, including his pregnant cousin, all while calling them "n****r," the Advocate reports. The court papers also allege Kerley unleashed enough pepper spray to “wet merchandise and the aisles, scent the air and affect employees and at least two customers” during the incident.
The Sun-Times reports a former Dillard’s worker, Tammy Cotton, testified against the security officer during a hearing involving the case. She said Kerley had a reputation among Dillard's staff for being “a little more aggressive” with Black customers than with white customers.
Cotton and other store staffers supporting Boosie's case allege that Kerley approached the “Wipe Me Down” artist after the rapper drew a large crowd of fans. They claim this caused Kerley to demand the rapper leave the store.
When Boosie refused, they say Kerley began spraying the entourage and bystanders. That part of the encounter was caught on video:
“I don’t feel, from what I saw, as though there was any threat to either the persons on property or the business,” Cotton said. “The only thing that I saw was the massive crowd, who was upset about what was happening in that Polo section.”
OK Magazine reports Boosie is seeking between $30-40 million dollars in damages over the incident. The judge overseeing the case set a settlement hearing for January 17.
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