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Hip-hop artist held in man’s death

Ryan is a Times staff writer.

A Swedish hip-hop artist who boasted of working with Ashley Tisdale, Heidi Montag and other American performers is facing assault and battery charges stemming from a violent confrontation in a Hollywood crosswalk that left a musician dead and bystanders horrified.

David Moses Jassy, 34, also known as Dave Monopoly, is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Superior Court in what authorities described as a stunning episode of road rage involving a motorist and pedestrian.

The encounter between Jassy and the victim, John Osnes, a 55-year-old jazz pianist, occurred very early Monday at the intersection of Schrader Boulevard and Selma Avenue, according to prosecutors.

Osnes, a resident of the neighborhood, was crossing the street on foot when a rented SUV driven by Jassy edged into the crosswalk, authorities said.

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Osnes, who did not own a car and was known as a stickler for pedestrian rights, struck the SUV with his hands, authorities said.

Jassy got out of his vehicle, punched Osnes and then kicked him in the head when he bent over to retrieve his glasses, authorities allege.

Bystanders, including an off-duty Anaheim police officer, attempted to detain Jassy, but he got back in the SUV and drove over Osnes’ body, according to authorities. He fled the scene and was arrested Monday after investigators traced the license plate of his rented car, police said.

Osnes was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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In addition to assault and battery, Jassy is charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

The case remains under investigation by the district attorney’s office.

Jassy is being held on $1-million bail.

He appeared briefly in court Tuesday afternoon, but the proceeding was postponed after he requested a Swedish interpreter. The public defender’s office represented him at the hearing.

Family and friends of the victim said they were shocked by the violent death of Osnes, a quiet, unassuming man whose great passion was playing jazz standards at piano bars.

“The family is, of course, devastated and cannot understand how such a thing could happen,” his sister, Kris Osnes, said.

Osnes, a Minnesota native who worked part-time as a travel agent, had never learned to drive. He lived in Minneapolis and New York before moving to Los Angeles in 2005, and prided himself on navigating each city without a car.

“He was very sensitive to how pedestrians were ignored by motorists,” said Kris Osnes. “He had little patience for discourteous drivers.”

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A bartender at the Piano Bar, a watering hole Osnes visited often, said he was a common sight on neighborhood sidewalks.

“A lot of people are really sad about this. He was a really classy guy. A good listener,” Michael Blum said.

Osnes talked on several occasions about obeying traffic laws, he said.

“He had been stopped for jaywalking one time, and he always told people never to jaywalk,” Blum said.

On Jassy’s MySpace page, he identifies himself as “a songwriter/producer/artist from Sweden with heritage from the Gambia and Estonia.” His profile says he has worked with many rap and R&B; acts as well as Tisdale, an actress in the “High School Musical” movies, and Montag, of the MTV reality show “The Hills.”

“He is known for his sharp lyrics and captivating melodies and is always striving to think ‘outside the box,’ ” the website says.

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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