‘Going through torture’: Megan Thee Stallion testifies against Tory Lanez

Rapper takes stand in case against Canadian-born musician, emotionally recounting night when she was shot

Megan Thee Stallion delivered emotional testimony on Tuesday in the trial of Tory Lanez, the fellow musician and former friend who allegedly shot her following a party in Los Angeles.

The Texas-born rapper, whose real name is Megan Pete, shared the most in-depth account yet about the moment that led to the shooting in 2020. She described how the attack left her with constant pain in her feet and said reliving the incident in the public eye had been “torture”.

“I don’t wanna be on this Earth,” Pete said at one point during a daylong testimony. “I wish he woulda shot and killed me if I knew I would go through this torture.”

Pete was often overcome with emotion and sniffled softly as the Los Angeles county prosecutor Kathy Ta questioned her about the early morning shooting on 12 July 2020.

Ta showed Pete and the courtroom police body-camera footage of Pete being ordered out of a large black vehicle and hobbling to the sidewalk with her feet bleeding. Video of the rapper crying heavily in the back of an ambulance caused Pete to wipe her nose as she relived it.

“I can’t believe I have to come in here and do this,” Pete, 27, said while on the witness stand.

Tory Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, faces over 22 years in prison if he is convicted on all three felony counts he faces. Peterson, 30, has maintained his innocence and has accused Pete of lying.

Throughout the prosecutor’s questioning, Peterson’s attorney, George Mgdesyan, fervently objected several times during Pete’s recounting of the events that led to the car ride that precipitated the shooting.

Pete said the incident had taken place following a party at Kylie Jenner’s house. An argument broke out after Peterson revealed to Pete’s longtime friend Kelsey Harris that he and Pete had been intimate. Harris is also slated to testify during the trial.

At some point during the car ride, Peterson turned around in the vehicle and told Pete to stop lying to Harris about their relationship. Pete said on Tuesday she and Petersonhad become friends after they both lost their mothers, and they had sometimes had sexual relations with each other. Harris, who had a “crush” on Peterson, did not know about the musicians’ relationship until the verbal disagreement, Pete testified.

Peterson later called both women “bitches and hos” as tensions erupted, Pete testified. The two also verbally sparred over their musical careers.

Pete told the courtroom she had asked to be let out of the car near the Hollywood Hills home she was staying in, but as she walked away, Pete said, she heard Peterson yell “dance, bitch”, and when she turned her head to face him he was hanging partly out of the car with a gun pointed at her. Then he began firing.

Shortly after they drove away from the scene, police stopped the vehicle that Pete, Harris, Peterson and his security guard were in.

Pete said that Peterson had begged her and Harris not to tell the police that she had been shot by him because he had prior legal issues and did not want to get into more trouble. Pete added that Peterson had offered the two former friends $1m to keep quiet.

“Why are you not worried about how I am? You just shot me!” Pete recalled thinking when Peterson asked for her silence.

Peterson was ultimately arrested for having a concealed weapon and after months of speculation, Pete went on Instagram Live to say Peterson had shot her.

The aftermath of the shooting has played out largely online and has struck a chord in the hip-hop community, spotlighting how the treatment and abuse of Black women are largely ignored in society. During Tuesday’s testimony, Pete described the rap game as a “boy’s club” and said she knew she would be hated because she was “telling on one y’all’s friend”.

During cross-examination, Mgdesyan focused much of his questioning on where Pete and Peterson were physically located before the shooting. He also challenged Pete’s interviews and statements she has made to police, on social media and in a televised sit-down with Gayle King that aired on CBS in April.

The exchanges between Mgdesyan and Pete were tense, with Mgdesyan digging into the minutiae of the hours before the shooting, including how much Pete had to drink at Jenner’s home, why she insisted on leaving with Peterson and which direction Pete was walking in before Peterson allegedly shot her.

Mgdesyan also homed in on an interview that Pete had with the then Los Angeles police detective Ryan Stogner days after the incident, wherein she told police that she initially did not know she had been shot.

Pete responded that she was not comfortable with talking to police due to concerns about police violence against Black people, but she changed her mind when she saw Peterson and his management trying to “get ahead” of the story by planting fake news items in blogs.

“I didn’t want it to be a big mess like it is now,” Pete testified of her hesitance to tell the truth early on.

• In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 and online chat is also available. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at befrienders.org


Abené Clayton in Los Angeles

The GuardianTramp

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