Harlem’s Reps. Espaillat, And Others Statement Prior To Harlem’s A$AP Rocky And Others Pretrial Hearing

July 19, 2019

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Rep. André Carson (D-IN) released the following joint statement

as the members await pre-trial hearing of Rakim Mayers, also known as A$AP Rocky, and his two companions David Rispers Jr., and c who have been detained in a Swedish jail since early July.

“We remain deeply concerned about the detainment of Rakim Mayers, also known as A$AP Rocky, and his two companions David Rispers Jr., and Bladimir Corniel. All three of these gentlemen are not only American citizens, they are young men of color,” said the members.

“The widely circulated video evidence clearly show that these men were accosted, harassed, and followed, all while maintaining tremendous poise. Even after they were initially attacked, they made verifiable efforts to remove themselves from the situation. Unfortunately, it escalated to the point where they were forced to defend themselves.

“Despite the undeniable proof of their innocence, the Swedish government has detained them under inhumane conditions for more than two weeks. This incident serves as yet another example of the racially motivated focus and prejudices young men of color are subjected to around the world. These young Americans are not only unjustly incarcerated, they are being held in solidarity confinement for 23 hours per day by a foreign country. Considering the evidence, this is unacceptable.

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“Our resolve is unwavering – the only satisfactory resolution to this matter is the immediate release of A$AP, David and Bladimir under their own recognizance.

“We will closely monitor the pre-trial hearing tomorrow in Stockholm and have been in close contact with both the U.S. State Department and the Swedish government. We will continue fighting until the Swedish Government terminates this erroneous detainment and all three men return home to their families,” the members concluded.

This week, the members held a press conference on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to further highlight the seriousness of this case, to call for involvement from the White House and Department of State, and to demand the release of the three Americans who have been detained in a Swedish jail since earlier this month.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Adriano Espaillat is serving his second term in Congress where he serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee. He serves as a Senior Whip of the House Democratic Caucus and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) where he also serves in a leadership role as CHC Whip. He is also chairman of the CHC Task Force for Transportation, Infrastructure and Housing. Rep. Espaillat’s Congressional District includes Harlem, East Harlem, northern Manhattan and the north-west Bronx. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.

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