Chaka Zulu, the long-time manager of rapper-actor-record exec, Ludacris, has been charged with murder, aggravated assault, simple battery, and more.
The charges stem from a June 2022 incident in which three men were shot outside of an Atlanta, Georgia restaurant, according to Variety and CNN. Officers took the three men to the hospital, where 23-year-old victim Artez Jamil Benton later died.
Zulu, real name Ahmed Obafemi, was arrested on Sept. 13. Obafemi voluntarily turned himself in, according to Fulton County, Georgia jail inmate records.
Late Saturday night (Sept. 17), Obafemi’s attorney Gabe Banks released a statement via Instagram.
“Mr. Chaka Zulu, the beloved son of the City of Atlanta is disappointed in the Atlanta Police Department’s decision to bring charges against him surrounding the shooting that occurred in June 2022,” read the statement, insisting Obafemi acted in self-defense. “A close review of all of the evidence, including surveillance footage and eyewitness interviews, reveal that Mr. Zulu was attacked and jumped from behind by a gang of at least four (4) individuals (sadly including the decedent) and was forced to defend himself after this gang repeatedly stomped, punched, and kicked him while he was on the ground in a defenseless posture.”
The attorney also insisted that not only did the incident take place at Obafemi’s place of business, Buckhead neighborhood restaurant APT 4B, but also that he was shot in the back during the melee and nearly lost his own life. “In an attempt to save his life, Mr. Zulu lawfully discharged his weapon in self-defense, a weapon that he was licensed to carry,” the statement continued. “Mr. Zulu fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and their investigation, and voluntarily turned himself in once he learned of the arrest warrants.”
Confident his name will be cleared during upcoming criminal proceedings, Banks added: “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.”
Obafemi has managed Ludacris since the 1990s, and together they started Disturbing Tha Peace Records in 1998 with Obafemi’s brother, Jeff Dixon. Along with releasing music by DJ Infamous, Bobby V, Chingy, and more, it was the label behind Ludacris’ 2006 Grammy award-winning album, Release Therapy.
(Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Michigan Avenue Magazine)