Over the weekend, James Roppo, vice president of Island Def Jam Records was arrested in Garden City, N.Y. His crime: not tweeting. Yes, as in not using the popular social networking site, Twitter.
Roppo was in Garden City with Canadian teen pop sensation Justin Bieber, who was supposed to perform a free concert for the several thousand screaming teen-aged fans who had waited for him, lining up as early as 4 a.m., at the Roosevelt Field Mall. Several hours before the 15-year-old’s concert, things got out of hand and five people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.
One Bieber fan on the scene, 13-year-old Aimee Macchi, said “people started screaming, ‘Justin!’ And they ran forward and the ropes collapsed. Everyone was pushing. There was no room to breathe.” Macchi was pushed down on the ground as people stepped on top of her to get ahead.
After that, police made the announcement that they would be shutting down the mall and canceling the concert. That’s also when police arrested Roppo, stating “he wasn’t cooperating with attempts to disperse the crowd,” according to The Canadian Press. He was officially charged with a number of misdemeanors, which include endangering the welfare of children and obstructing governmental administration.
“We asked for his help in getting the crowd to go away by sending out a Twitter message,” said Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith. “By not cooperating with us, we feel he put lives in danger and the public at risk.”
While the concert was still two hours away, Bieber never made it into the building. Police have an interesting case on their hands, since Bieber updated his Twitter account, in which more of his followers are likely to follow. “[T]he event at roosevelt mall is cancelled. [P]lease go home,” Bieber tweeted. “I dont want anyone hurt.”
He also tweeted, “They are not allowing me to come into the mall. [I]f you dont leave I and my fans will be arrested as the police just told us.”
Although there were only a few minor injuries, many more left with broken hearts, including 14-year-old Jennifer Manzanarez. She said, “I feel like crying right now, we love him.”
Bieber was promoting his first album “My World” which debuted last week. His album was the top sold CD last week in Canada according to HMV Canada. Bieber was discovered by the music industry after he began posting videos of himself singing on YouTube in 2007. Both Bieber and Island Records have issued apologies and have promised to make up for the cancellation sometime in the future.
Roppo is pleading not guilty to the charges.