Police arrest exec for not using Twitter

After singer Justin Bieber does not appear at a Long Island mall, police ask a record label veep to tweet encouragement for the crowd to disperse. He allegedly doesn't and is thus arrested.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

No, this isn't The Onion.

But just look at that headline and wonder how it could possibly be true.

Well, according to Newsday, Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber was due to conduct an album signing at the Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, N.Y.

It seems that thousands of teenage girls turned up to mob the wondrous teen hope, a happening perhaps so frightening that Bieber did not turn up.

The Nassau County police became rather concerned that the crowd might break the glass in store windows with its shrieking. (The official word seems to have been "unruly," but teenage girls are never really that.)

So they asked a senior vice president from Island Def Jam Records (Bieber's record label), James A. Roppo, to do what record label executives often do when solving a difficult situation: tweet.

However, he is alleged to have not complied with this endearing request and thus found himself arrested, pending charges that might, according to the police, comprise criminal nuisance, endangering the welfare of a minor, and obstructing government administration.

Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police told the AP: "We asked for his help in getting the crowd to go away by sending out a Twitter message. By not cooperating with us, we feel he put lives in danger and the public at risk."

What is somewhat peculiar is that a tweet was sent from Justin Bieber's account around the time of the arrest, reading: "they are not allowing me to come into the mall. if you don't leave, I and my fans will be arrested, as the police just told us."

Bieber followed this message up with another tweet pleading for the high-pitched wailers to disperse, just three minutes later.

All this occurred Friday. And, thanks to Bieber himself, I have embedded YouTube footage of the melee at the mall.

Bieber posted a link to this footage Saturday and tweeted, "wow. this upsets me. the mall should of had proper security. They wouldnt let me in! Gotta make this right 4 the fans."

Well, yes, it should of. Just look at the worried faces of the parents. Just listen to the screams of the aficionadas. This is the kind of nightmare many will have experienced after a large tub of dulce de leche eaten well past midnight.

I cannot imagine what Roppo might have said to the police in order to incite their wrath. However, looking at this footage, I suspect that something like "Look at these people!!!! They're outta their minds!!! You really think a tweet is going to stop them from screaming?!!!" might have been part of the dialogue.

It is also pleasantly reassuring that the mall staff appears, near the end of the footage, to have resorted to analog crowd dispersal means. Yes, someone found a loudhailer.

However, I can find no record of any arrests from the scene other than Roppo's. And certainly, no one else appears to have been arrested for refusing to tweet.

Therefore, this truly seems to be a world first. One can only look forward to the day when someone's Facebook friends cause them to be arrested for not updating their status.