Rapper Jay-Z Arrested Near Nightclub

By | April 14, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Grammy-winning rapper Jay-Z and three other men were arrested early Friday outside a Manhattan nightclub and held on weapons charges after a plainclothes officer saw one of the men take a loaded handgun from the rapper’s vehicle, police said.

Jay-Z said Friday night that his mother can hold her head high because he’s innocent of a gun possession charge against him.

“That’s my mom,” he said, motioning to this mother outside Manhattan Criminal Court. “She can go anywhere in the world and hold her head up – because her son is 100 percent innocent.”

The rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, was arraigned Friday night on charges stemming from an arrest outside a nightclub where police said they saw a member of his entourage with a loaded handgun in his waistband. The rapper posted $10,000 bail.

“I’m concerned about his risk of flight and danger to the community,” Judge Laura Ward said in setting the amount.

“Once the facts come to light, Jay-Z will be fully exonerated,” the rapper’s lawyer, Stacey Richman, said.

Members of the police department’s Street Crime Unit were patrolling the neighborhood near the Club Exit nightclub on Manhattan’s West Side when they saw Carter, bodyguard Hamza Hewitt and Tyran Smith enter the club, Royster said. The driver, Romero Chambers, stayed in the 2000 Chevrolet Suburban.

The rapper – who was scheduled to perform at a party at the club – and the two other suspects were in the club for only about 20 minutes when they left. After Carter and Smith got back in the Suburban, one of the Street Crime officers saw Hewitt reach into the front passenger side, remove a Glock semiautomatic pistol and put it in his waistband, Royster said.

As the vehicle pulled away, police stopped it and found the loaded weapon on Hewitt, Royster said.

Like Hewitt, 29, Carter, 31, Chambers, 43 and Smith, 28, were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon because they had been inside the vehicle with the gun before Hewitt took it out, authorities said.

The arrest was not Carter’s first run-in with the law. He was indicted in January 2000 for allegedly stabbing a record executive during a nightclub brawl. He has a court appearance in that case scheduled for Monday.

The rapper’s “Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life” won the Grammy for best rap album in 1999.

The arrest comes less than a month after a jury acquitted rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs and his bodyguard, Anthony “Wolf” Jones, of gun possession and bribery charges from a Dec. 27, 1999, shooting inside another Manhattan nightclub. Three people were injured.

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