After seriously disrupting Los Angeles rush hour traffic with a 2018 publicity stunt, an aspiring rapper appeared on A&E’s My Strange Arrest to discuss what was going through his mind during the bizarre incident.
Alexander Dunn — who goes by the stage name Dephree — said during an interview on the show that he was living and making music in L.A. as a 29-year-old back in 2018, but struggling because he “couldn’t get any traction in the rap game.”
But then he and a friend got an idea while driving down the 405 freeway: Dunn would climb up onto one of the giant freeway signs so he could make his mark and get noticed. And sure enough, early one morning he nervously arrived at a sign on the 110 freeway near downtown L.A. with a ladder in the back of his truck.
Wearing nothing but his underwear, the Indiana native climbed up the sign armed with a bullhorn and two handmade signs. One had "Dephree" painted on it and the other had the words “fight pollution not each other,” which is also one of the things that he was saying into the bullhorn. Dunn is a self-described environmental advocate.
Emergency crews arrived and quickly set up giant inflatable cushions beneath the sign. Dunn said they even brought out a hostage negotiator to talk to him from the ground. In a clip played on the show, Dunn can be heard replying back with, “I love you man, and I love police officers.”
As police climbed up and closed in on him, Dunn climbed even higher.
“At this point, like, all the nerves are gone. I’m just like, 'I’m one with the freeway sign and I’m here to make my stand,'” he said.
Dunn eventually told police that he would only come down voluntarily if they let him do a backflip onto the inflatable cushion. They tried to shut the idea down, but ultimately Dunn did it anyway.
Once on the ground, Dunn was hauled away in handcuffs and on a stretcher, ending up in jail still wearing just his underwear. The incident caused a major traffic jam for nearly two hours, and afterward, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer promised in a statement that Dunn would be held “accountable for his reckless, selfish actions."
Dunn was officially charged with resisting arrest, maintaining or committing a public nuisance, two counts of trespassing, failure to comply with a lawful order and failure to obey a sign or signal by a pedestrian.
He pled no contest to maintaining or committing a public nuisance, one count of trespassing and failure to comply with a lawful order while the other charges were dropped. He was sentenced to 90 days in L.A. county jail, 36 months of probation, eight days of community service and ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution and fines.
Dunn was released after three days due to overcrowding and eventually relocated to St. Petersburg, Fla., where he is still a part of the hip-hop community. And while the publicity stunt may not have brought all the fame and fortune he was hoping for, at least Dunn can always say he negotiated and performed a backflip off an L.A. freeway sign.
“It was a pretty good backflip, I give it like, an eight. I almost missed the pad, I hit like, the corner of the pad,” Dunn said. “But it was like falling on pillows, man.”
My Strange Arrest airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on A&E.