Music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs was arrested last Monday at a UCLA athletic facility, where he was apparently working out with his son, who plays on the university's football team. The charges were serious: battery, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and making terroristic threats. The deadly weapon in question was a kettlebell -- an exercise weight with a handle.
Reports have not made clear who or how many people may have been assaulted, but it seems no one was seriously injured.
A spokesperson for Combs lamented that inaccuracies and rumors have been spread about the incident, which she insists was self-defense. "What we can say now," she told the Associated Press, "is that any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son."
When it comes to press reports about celebrity arrests, it's certainly true that the stories can spin out of control. Rumors, excitement, malice and simple misunderstandings can result in stories that aren't really fair. Moreover, the press typically relies exclusively on information from police and prosecutors when reporting crime stories of any kind.
"We are confident that once the true facts are revealed, the case will be dismissed," she added in a statement.
Combs, who is 45, was arrested Monday afternoon and spent several hours in jail before his bail hearing later that day. He was released after posting bail, but the Associated Press was unable to resolve discrepancies in police records, so it's not clear whether he paid $50,000 or $160,000 to secure his release.
Exacerbating the situation for Combs is that he has a history of being accused of crimes -- but apparently only one conviction. In 1999 he was charged with assaulting a music executive. He publicly apologized and reconciled with the man, his charges were reduced, and he was ordered to take anger-management classes. Later that year, he was acquitted of bribery and weapons charges in connection with a shooting at a night club. Earlier this year he was accused of punching a fellow Super Bowl party attendee but was not arrested.
We all need to remember there's a reason we don't try people in the press. Justice requires a fair, informed and impartial hearing of the facts, which isn't nearly as interesting as innuendo.