Chris Brown could face prison over charges of possession of 'illegal pet monkey'
Just over a year ago, in December 2017, musician Chris Brown attracted some unwanted attention when he posted a video to Instagram showing his three-year-old daughter, Royalty, and a baby capuchin monkey. In the clip, the toddler can be seen holding the animal close like a baby - all the while Brown is cooing about how cute they look.
As sweet as it may have seemed, however, the video was actually a big mistake. Many followers criticised Brown for purchasing the monkey, meanwhile others warned him that he could face dangerous consequences for his actions.
"Capuchin Monkeys are the most dangerous of the monkeys..ranked number 3 on Latin America’s 72 most dangerous animals [sic]," wrote one Instagrammer. "Be careful you and your baby girl".
"Leave wild animals where they belong and especially leave babies with their mother, oh my gosh and you are supposed to be a role model??" said another.
What Brown probably didn't realise, however, is that owning the monkey was illegal.
After the video had been viewed several thousand times, the 29-year-old received a notice from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to say that he was under investigation - presumably after one unhappy follower reported him for having the capuchin monkey.
Initially, Brown was threatened with having his home searched, but he voluntarily surrendered the animal before that could happen. Still, it wasn't enough to prevent facing legal consequences.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office confirmed last week, on December 28th, that Brown will be arraigned in court on February 6, after being charged with two counts of being in possession of a restricted species without a permit. If found guilty, he could face up to six months behind bars.
Of course, this is not the first time that Brown has been in trouble with the law.
In 2009, he was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats after brutally beating up his then girlfriend, Rihanna. Initially, he pleaded not guilty to these charges, but later pleaded guilty to a felony charge instead as part of a deal that saw him get six months of community labor, five years of probation, and domestic violence counselling.
He has also been arrested several other times for violent altercations, and has spent time in jail before for battery.
Even since he first got into trouble with the law for owning the monkey, he was charged with felony battery in July 2018. On this occasion, he paid bail and was therefore not held in jail.
Though his animal-related crime may not be seen by some to be as deserving of punishment, it is still a serious offence in the eyes of the law.
According to the RSPCA, owning an exotic pet such as a capuchin - which is technically not illegal if you have the right paperwork - is a pretty cruel thing to do. "They are wild animals that have very specific welfare needs," they said. "It is impossible to provide an environment as complex and rich as the wild."
Brown has not offered a public statement on the matter.