A Cobb County court jury has ordered Grammy-nominated rapper Da Brat to pay $6.4 million in damages to the Atlanta cheerleader she assaulted in 2007. The punishment was meted out on Thursday afternoon.
Da Brat, whose real name is Shawntae Harris, served almost three years in prison for brutally attacking former Atlanta Falcons cheerleader Shayla Stevens with a rum bottle during an argument at an Atlanta nightclub owned by Jermaine Dupri . According to Stevens’ lawyer Mark Link, his client sustained grave injuries that affected her brain’s functions. Although Stevens has survived her brain injury, she has suffered from mental anguish as well as a permanent scar on her face, both of which have prevented her from pursuing her cheerleading career.
Stevens filed a civil lawsuit against the Funkdafied hit maker in 2009 to which Harris pleaded guilty. Apart from serving three years at Arrendale State Prison, Harris was also ordered a seven-year probation period, 200 hours worth of community service, anger management classes, mental evaluation, and treatment for substance abuse. Now, Da Brat must pay Stevens $3.7 million and $2.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages, respectively.
Shayla Stevens, Da Brat's victim, testifies in court
Harris’ lawyer B.J. Bernstein is surprised that his client was still ordered to pay millions despite that fact that she admitted to the charges and served her time. He said that they are still in the process of planning an appeal.
The 39-year-old rapper and actress rose to fame when she released her debut album entitled Funkdafied. Hip hop tycoon Jermaine Dupri signed her to his label So So Def and molded her to be the “female Snoop Dogg”. Harris was previously involved in a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge in 2001 when she beat a woman with a gun at another Atlanta nightclub. Harris pleaded guilty to the charge and paid a $1,000 fine, served a year-long probation period, and put in 80 hours of community service.
Da Brat: Life After Prison (explicit language)
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Image via YouTube