Hip Hop artist The Game, born Jayceon Terrell Taylor, was sentenced to 3 years probation on charges stemming from an altercation with an off-duty police officer in 2015. According to authorities, the incident took place at a Pro-am pickup basketball game. How the altercation began isn’t known, though The Game was caught on film punching off-duty police officer Onyebuchi Awaji after exchange. Game was charged with one felony count of making criminal threats and a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.
Criminal threats are covered under California Penal Code PC and are described as threatening to kill or physically harm someone, and:
- The person is placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for their safety or that of their family
- The threat is specific and
- The threat is communicated verbally, in writing, or electronically
A person can be found in violation of 422 PC regardless of whether or not they have the ability to actually follow through on the threat. What matters is that the threat was made and it includes the criteria listed above.
The law is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges carry the possible penalties of up to 1 year in county jail and/or a possible $1,000 fine. Felony charges include up to 3 years in California state prison and maximum $10,000 fine.
Assault and Battery
Assault and Battery are often charged together, but are actually two distinct crimes. Assault, covered under California Penal Code 240 is an attempt to use force or violence on someone else (whether that force connects or not is irrelevant in assault cases). Battery is charged when someone actually does use force against someone else. Basically, it’s assault if you just try to hit someone, and battery if you actually do.
Simple battery is a misdemeanor in California, punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
The Game Sentenced in Assault Case
The Game faced several years in prison if he was convicted on all charges. However, the artist was offered a plea deal of “no contest” in exchange for 3 years probation, mandatory attendance of 26 anger management classes and 120 hours of community service – which he agreed to.