The Cable

In California, Diddy Is an Alleged Terrorist. Under U.S. Law, Charleston Shooter Dylann Roof Is Not.

Rap mogul Diddy has been charged with making a terror threat by California authorities. Under U.S. law, Charleston shooter Dylann Roof isn't eligible to face the same.

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In the wake of the Charleston, S.C., shooting, there’s been a lot of debate about who is and isn’t a terrorist. An unlikely person allegedly falls into the former category.

Diddy. Or, if you like, Puff Daddy.

Sean Combs — the rap mogul’s real name — was arrested by the UCLA Police Department Monday for attacking Sal Alosi, a coach on UCLA’s football team. Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, is a redshirt junior on the squad, which means he can participate in Bruin practices but not games. According to TMZ (sorry, but they’re the best source on this), Biggie Smalls’s onetime hype man swung a kettlebell at Alosi after the coach rode his son in practice a bit too hard.

Diddy was arrested after the altercation. He’s been charged by UCPD with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of battery, and one count of making a terrorist threat.

That’s right. A terrorist threat.

For the record, Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime for allegedly killing nine black parishioners at an African American church in the historic South Carolina city. He faces the death penalty.

On Saturday, FBI Director James Comey said Roof is not a terrorist.

Debates over whether Roof’s actions constitute an act of terrorism have raged since the June 17 shootings. The fact that Diddy was charged with a terror offense for allegedly getting into an altercation with a football coach while Roof escaped terror charges is only like to add fuel to that fire.

It’s still not clear what happened between Diddy and Alosi. TMZ reported the self-proclaimed “bad boy for life” was making threats in the coach’s office, so perhaps that’s where the origin of the terror charges lie. There’s apparently a video of it, and there’s little doubt TMZ will eventually get their hands on it. So we’re likely to eventually know the nature of the alleged terror threat made by “Cîroc Obama,” who is free on $50,000 bond.

An attorney for Combs said his client was acting in self-defense. He faces 40 years in prison if found guilty on all charges.

If Alosi’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the former New York Jets coach who tripped a Miami Dolphin that wandered onto his sidelines in 2010; he subsequently resigned. So stand-up guys all around. Diddy isn’t the only rapper with connections to UCLA football. Snoop Dogg’s son, Cordell Broadus, also plays for the Bruins. But Alosi probably doesn’t need to worry about Snoop; we all known him to be the more mellow type.

Photo credit: Allison Shelley/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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