Justin Bieber’s manager was arrested today, and WebProNews talked to his lawyer as they awaited arraignment.
Back in November, the ever-popular Justin Bieber was scheduled to have an autograph signing in a Long Island mall. It didn’t quite go as planned, and they got about three times as many people to show up as expected, and this created what authorities found to be an unsafe environment. The interesting part was that a record label exec, who was involved in the event’s organization, was arrested for not tweeting, upon police orders to do so (an apparent crowd control effort).
Back then, Newsday quoted one of the cops involved: "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." This raised the question over whether or not the police have the authority to make people tweet. While the story is from November, it is back in the spotlight today, as Bieber’s manager, Scot "Scooter" Braun, turned himself over to authorities today for two misdemeanor charges – reckless endangerment and obstruction of governmental administration, based on accusations, that he failed to tweet himself, in a timely enough fashion. Here are the "facts" according to a release we received from Braun’s attorney, Ravi Batra who we talked to about Braun’s situation:
FACTS: An event was planned by Justice, a retail chain, for 4:00pm, 11/21/09. On 11/21/09, at approximately 4:23pm EST, Jim Roppo, SVP Sales of Island Def Jam, using his cellphone, called Scooter’s cellphone and put on the phone a man who identified himself as a police officer. Said Police Officer told Scooter in sum and substance that: “I need you to put up a Twitter….because there is a riot going on here.” As a result of that conversation and with Justin Bieber on the way to the Mall, Scooter immediately went to the nearest computer, and on Justin Bieber’s behalf, made two (2) Tweets: (1) 11/21/09 4:30pm: “they are not allowing me to come to into the mall. If you don’t leave I and my fans will be arrested as the police have just told us that.” (2) 3 minutes later, at 4:33pm: “the event at roosevelt mall is cancelled. Please go home. The police have already arrested one person from my camp. I don’t want anyone hurt.”
The tweets are there if you dig through Bieber’s timeline. According to reports, authorities believe it took Braun as long as 90 minutes to tweet.
WebPronews contacted Batra, who said that after being scheduled for court at 8am, they were still waiting for arraignment at a little before 2pm. Court was really busy, and they were scheduled to go back at 2:15 after breaking for lunch, he told us.
He fully expects charges to be dismissed and for the arrest to be expunged from Scooter’s record. Batra says Braun was "clean before" and he wants to have him "come out out of this process clean." He says Scooter engaged in "expeditious, lawful compliance".
When asked about police authority with regard to making people tweet what they want them to, he says that with regard to public safety, he thinks police have to adapt to the 21st century tools available to them, and that Twitter is one of those tools. He sees nothing wrong with this, and even says it "should be celebrated."
"I think that public safety is job number one, not only for police, but for district attorneys, entertainers, and managers of entertainers…" he says.
Braun faces up to a year in prison, according to sources, if he is found guilty.
Do you think it is reasonable for someone to be arrested for not tweeting? Share your thoughts.