MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Prince’s cousin, Charles “Chazz” Smith, spoke out on Thursday after no charges were announced in the musician’s death.
After two years on investigation, Carver County officials announced no charges in Prince’s 2016 overdose death.
In the Thursday news conference, Carver County Attorney Mark Metz said the pills Prince took that ended his life were counterfeit Vicodin pills — a legal drug that’s a mix of hydrocodone and acetaminophen — that actually contained fentanyl. Metz said there’s no evidence anyone — including Prince — knew the pills contained the far more potent opioid.
Metz said investigators couldn’t determine where Prince got the fentanyl-laced Vicodin, and therefore couldn’t charge anyone in his overdose death. He also said the notoriously private musician didn’t have a cell phone, making the investigation more difficult.
On Thursday afternoon, Smith talked with the media, saying he wasn’t surprised by the result.
“I knew this was going to be the result,” Smith said. “Somebody should be held accountable and I hope to make sure that happens someday.”
Smith said despite hearing some rumors, his family didn’t know Prince was suffering from an addiction. But said that some people likely knew and did nothing.
“There were people keeping this kind of situation going on, and I don’t call them real friends,” he said.
Smith also said that he dislikes celebrations occurring on the anniversary of his cousin’s death – and that we should working to prevent things like this from happening.
“We don’t have to have another tragedy like this,” Smith said. “Not only to somebody like (Prince), but like law enforcement was saying, this could happen to anybody that might have an injury.”
Smith said if he were alive today, Prince would be playing “serious music” about the climate we’re living in.
“We should be celebrating that,” Smith said. “Because Prince would be doing a concert or something somewhere, not charging people a whole bunch of money. He would have made it so the common man could come in there and get his groove on.”
Also on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Minnesota announced the doctor accused of illegally prescribing percocet to Prince has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation. The doctor prescribed medication under the name of Prince’s close friend and longtime bodyguard Kirk Johnson.