Turn To Tara: Rapper sues after shooting charges are dropped

Posted: Updated:
MOUNT VERNON -

An up-and-coming rapper from Mount Vernon says he was arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. He Turned To Tara to share his story.

Phliip Ballinger, who was charged with shooting a man and nearly killing him, is now a free man and demanding an apology.

Ballinger, who goes by the name PJ the Balla, recently served three months in jail in connection to the shooting. He says that back in August, police swarmed the driveway outside his home.

“They jumped out, ran towards with me guns,” he says. “I didn't know what was going on … if I was getting robbed.”

A man who suffered two bullet wounds to the neck told police that Ballinger was the one who pulled the trigger.

Ballinger says he has never seen the victim before, but since he already had two felonies on his record – one for burglary and one for assault – was facing life in prison. Two weeks ago, the victim recanted his story and Ballinger was set free.

Ballinger has since hired a lawyer. He says he wants a formal apology and wants reimbursement.

“I’m an artist. I did 90 days. A lot can happen in 90 days. I was doing two to three shows a week, four a week. My life was taken away from me. I was kidnapped, best way to say it - I was kidnapped and forced in jail.”

News 12 reached out for comment to the Mount Vernon Police Department and the district attorney’s office. The police department did not return News 12’s calls, but the DA’s office did. It said that all charges against Ballinger were dismissed due to “issues with the case,” but didn’t say what those issues were.

News 12 also reached out to the man who was shot. He did not return calls for comment.

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