Ludacris’s longtime manager Chaka Zulu is still recovering after being shot outside of a Buckhead restaurant in Atlanta this summer, but now the veteran music executive has turned himself in after being hit with murder charges stemming from that same incident that claimed the life of a recent college graduate.
Zulu, whose real name is Ahmed Obafemi, is facing several charges, including murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, and simple battery following the June 26 triple shooting that left DeKalb County native Artez Jamil Benton dead, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Still, the 52-year-old’s lawyer, Gabe Banks, maintains his client acted in self-defense, telling the outlet, “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.”
In a lengthy statement, Banks noted that 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.”
The lawyer wrote that “a close review of all the evidence, including the surveillance footage and eyewitness interviews, reveals that Mr. Zulu was attacked and jumped from behind by a gang of at least four 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.”
He continued, “Mr. Zulu was shot in the back during the shooting and nearly lost his life, and is still recovering from the nearly fatal injuries he sustained that evening. Mr. Zulu was at his place of business that might and had every reason to defend himself.”
The Disturbing Tha Peace Records co-founder reportedly has a license to carry and “fully cooperated with law enforcement officials and their investigation. Banks added that his client “remains confident that his name will be cleared of all charges through the judicial process.”
Zulu voluntarily turned himself in on Sept. 13 at the Fulton County Jail. He was released on the same day on a $200,000 bond, marking the first arrest in the case since the violent incident.
Zulu received much support online from fans, many of whom believe the producer was truly defending, including on Twitter user who wrote, “If he was any other color there would zero charges except for the people who were stomping him to death and almost killed him. Self defense is only a crime when you’re black.”
The victim’s father, Artis Benton, told reporters his son “did everything right” and that he “never thought that this would be the end for him.” Meanwhile, the young man’s older sister Arteria Benton said, “we just want justice for Artez. That’s the main thing we want. So if you see something, say something, please.”