Supporters outside his trial scuffle with police

By Lori L. Tharps
Updated March 13, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

What started out as a quiet Monday in the Sean Puffy Combs weapons and bribery trial, ended in a mini riot outside the courthouse. An estimated 50 pro- Puffy protesters were waiting for the hip hop mogul to emerge from the Manhattan supreme court building with big signs that read ”Not Guilty” and ”Free Puffy.” When Combs exited the building and jumped into his waiting car, the protesters chanted ”Not Guilty,” and started chasing his vehicle. But once they blocked the movement of Combs’ car, several police officers dashed into the crowd. What happened next looked like a scene from a 1960s riot.

”Everybody just got out of control,” said an eyewitness named Stacie. Puffy’s car broke free of the mob, while a handful of court officers grabbed one protester, tackled him to the ground, and tried to restrain him. ”They threw him down and then they cuffed him,” eyewitness Capri Richardson said. Then instead of ”Free Puffy,” the protesters started yelling at the police, ”Let Him Go,” referring to the young man they had apprehended. In the end, only one protester was detained by authorities.

This event capped off a full day of closing arguments from the lawyers for Combs and his codefendants Jamal ”Shyne” Barrow and Anthony ”Wolf” Jones. Tuesday the prosecution will present its closing arguments, and the jury will begin their deliberations. If convicted, Combs faces up to 15 years for weapons possession and seven years for bribery. Barrow faces the more severe charge of attempted murder.