Rapper 21 Savage is speaking out for the first time since being released on bond earlier this week after a highly publicized arrest.
The Grammy-nominated artist, whose legal name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, told ABC in an interview on Thursday that he believes he was “definitely targeted” by law enforcement. The rapper had criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policies just days before his arrest.
“I was just driving,” he told ABC. “And I just seen guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone... they didn’t say nothing [about the reason for the arrest]. They just said, ‘We got Savage.’”
21 Savage, a British citizen, was released on Wednesday after spending nine days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for allegedly overstaying his visa. Authorities said that he came to the U.S. in 2005 as a teenager, but his visa expired in 2006.
Attorneys for the rapper have disputed this, saying he actually first came to the U.S. when he was 7, and only left briefly in 2005 to attend an uncle’s funeral. They also said he never hid his immigration status from authorities, and questioned why he was kept in custody for so long.
“This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr. Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States,” attorney Charles Kuck said in a statement. “Obviously, our client is not a flight risk, as he is widely recognizable, and a prominent member of the music industry. Likewise, Mr. Abraham-Joseph is clearly not a danger to the community, and in fact, his contributions to local communities and schools that he grew up in are examples of the type of immigrant we want in America.”
The rapper, 26, told ABC he’s made peace with the fact that he could still be deported.
“I feel like I done been through so much in my life, like, I learned to embrace the times when I’m down ’cause they always build me up and take me to a new level in life,” he said. “So it’s like even if I’m sitting in a cell on 23-hour lockdown, in my mind, I know what’s gonna come after that. So I’m not happy about it. But I’m accepting of it.”