MIAMI – Benjamin Kapelushnik, better known as Benjamin Kickz, was at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Thursday afternoon facing a charge stemming from a brutal beating at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
The 21-year-old entrepreneur is also known as Ben Kicks and Sneaker Don. He gained notoriety as a hip-hop-loving teenager for his business of reselling and reviewing investment sneakers. Some of his customers include DJ Khaled and Drake.
“Internet fame or celebrity grants no one the right to violate the law,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle wrote on Twitter after announcing her decision to charge the social media influencer with strong-arm robbery, a second-degree felony.
According to prosecutors, the trouble started at about 1 a.m., Jan. 1, when Kapelushnik got upset because he thought Luel Alemu took a picture of him without his consent. A witness said Alemu, 19, told Kapelushnik that he had not taken a picture of him, but he didn’t believe him.
The conflict spilled from the hotel lobby to the driveway. Kapelushnik grabbed Alemu’s phone and walked away with it, as his friends beat up Alemu. Prosecutors said they punched and kicked him in the head. The brutal beating resulted in Alemu having to be hospitalized, police said.
Prosecutors said Alemu still needs to undergo surgery nearly a week after the attack.
“The actions that put a young man in the hospitals are crimes, plain and simple,” Fernandez Rundle wrote. “The accumulated evidence, once placed before our criminal court, will make that point clear.”
Although he remained at TGK, records show Kapelushnik submitted a $7,500 bond.