August 21, 2006 08:35 AM

Rapper Busta Rhymes was arraigned in New York Sunday on an third-degree assault charge after he was reportedly accused of attacking a man for spitting on his car.

Releasing few details, the New York Police Department said only that the arrest stemmed from an incident that occurred Aug. 12, reports the Associated Press.

Police arrested the rapper Saturday evening after he performed at the AmsterJam Music Festival on Randall’s Island. The New York Post said police believe he beat a man who spat on his car near Gramercy Park.

After his arraignment, Busta Rhymes was released on his own recognizance, said Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He is due back in court Oct. 24.

The rapper’s lawyer Scott Leemon – claiming, “This is payback by the NYPD” – said the charge should have merited only a desk appearance ticket.

Police, however, said the rapper (real name: Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr.), 33, didn’t qualify for a desk appearance ticket because of the seriousness of the charge.

Police reportedly have wanted to interview Busta Rhymes since the February shooting death of one of his bodyguards, Israel Ramirez, 29, who was killed outside a Brooklyn studio where Rhymes was recording a music video.

The performer and another bodyguard were sued the following month by a fan who says the two men beat him after he asked for the rapper’s autograph.

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