The charges stem from an incident at the APT 4B restaurant in Atlanta this past June in which three men were shot. Officers arrived at the scene and took the three men to the hospital, where 23-year-old victim Artez Jamil Benton later died.
In the following weeks, Obafemi was identified as a suspect, with police obtaining warrants for his arrest. He turned himself in voluntarily on September 13 and posted the $200,000 bail later that day. He was arrested on charges of murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and simple battery.
On September 17, Obafemi’s lawyer Gabe Banks posted a statement on the music executive’s official Instagram account (which was later shared with Pitchfork) claiming that Obafemi acted in self-defense. The statement goes on to say that Obafemi was also shot in the back, and that the shooting happened in his own place of business.
“In an attempt to save his life, Mr. Zulu lawfully discharged his weapon in self-defense, a weapon that he was licensed to carry. Mr. Zulu fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and their investigation, and voluntarily turned himself in once he learned of the arrest warrants,” the statement reads. “Mr. Zulu remains confident that his name will be cleared of these charges through the judicial process. It is not lost on Mr. Zulu that someone lost his life, but had Mr. Zulu not lawfully defended himself, Mr. Zulu would have been killed that night.”
Ahmed Obafemi has been Ludacris’ manager since the 1990s, and together with Obafemi’s brother, Jeff Dixon, the three started Disturbing Tha Peace Records in 1998. The label has released music from DJ Infamous, Bobby V, and Chingy, among others. It was also the label behind Ludacris’ 2006 album Release Therapy, which received the Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with the single “Money Maker” in 2007.
Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Obafemi and Ludacris for comment and more information.