Chris Brown pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in Washington D.C. yesterday. The singer and his bodyguard were arrested Sunday morning over an altercation with a man outside of the W Hotel. The incident reportedly took place at around 4:30 a.m. when Brown allegedly punched the man in the face. At the time, Brown was charged with a felony, which was later reduced to a misdemeanor. After spending a day and a half in custody, The Associated Press reported that the singer left the courthouse on Monday flashing a peace sign to a cheering and clapping gathering of supporters.
The alleged assault happened when a man identified as 20-year-old Parker Isaac Adams requested to take a picture of Brown, who is 24, and two others. Adams’s police report states that Brown told him, “I’m not down with that gay shit,” and, “I feel like boxing.” (The context of those quotes, though, was not clear.) Adams then reported that Brown punched him in the face, fracturing his nose. The singer’s bodyguard, Chris Hollosy, age 35, then stepped between them and took Brown by the arm, but not without allegedly punching the man first.
When questioned by the police, Brown claimed he did not strike the man and that he was on the bus when Hollosy got into a fight with Adams. On Monday morning, Brown’s lawyer, Danny Onorato, stated, “We understand that his security acted to protect Mr. Brown and Mr. Brown’s property as he was authorized to do under District of Columbia law. We are confident that Mr. Brown will be exonerated of any wrongdoing.”
If convicted, Brown faces a maximum of a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 25th.
In addition to the D.C. charges, the singer is still on probation for assaulting Rihanna in 2009. Terms of his sentence require Brown to complete 1,000 hours of community labor, which he is attempting to finish before the release of his upcoming album, X. If prosecutors in Los Angeles determine that the singer violated his probation, Brown could serve up to four years in prison.
The time the singer spent in custody in Washington is the longest he has spent behind bars, according to the AP.
Previously, following his attack on Rihanna, Brown broke a window after an interview on Good Morning America, in 2011. The next year, he was accused of stealing a woman’s iPhone but was not charged. That same year, Brown found himself in a fight with Drake at a New York City nightclub. In January of this year, Brown allegedly fought Frank Ocean and that singer’s entourage in a parking lot. Ocean filed charges, which were dropped in February, though another man involved in the altercation sued Brown over the brawl in August. The singer also went to jail briefly in August over charges stemming from a hit-and-run in May.