Posted on Sunday, 8 of May , 2011 at 9:07 pm
NASSAU COUNTY—Teen pop star Justin Bieber will appear in a public service announcement about the importance of cyber-responsibility as part of a guilty plea stemming from a November 2009 incident in which his record label and other companies poorly organized a Bieber promotional event and his management company then refused to help law enforcement safely disperse a crowd of thousands that had shown up to see Bieber at the Roosevelt Field Mall.
The prosecution by the Nassau DA’s Office is one of the first cases in New York State to hold a defendant, who is acting outside the county, criminally accountable for their conduct on a social media website which caused a detrimental impact on people inside the county.
Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam Record Music Group (IDJ), and his management company, Remster 3 LLC, pleaded guilty Friday morning to violating Nassau County Fire Prevention Ordinances.
IDJ also agreed to reimburse Nassau County almost $8,000 to pay its share of the costs associated with the countywide law enforcement and fire marshal response necessitated by the poor planning and execution of the event.
The cases against James Roppo, a senior vice president of IDJ, and Scott Braun (aka Scooter Braun), Bieber’s manager, have been dismissed based on the guilty pleas taken by the companies.
The public service announcement will be shown in Nassau County middle schools, junior high schools and high schools and the district attorney will make it available to other school systems outside Nassau County. While the district attorney’s office has final approval of the content, the PSA will be produced and paid for by IDJ.
“This public service announcement will be a valuable tool for parents, educators, and law enforcement efforts to combat cyber-bullying and sexting, while encouraging young people to use the internet responsibly,” said district attorney Kathleen Rice.
“Mr. Braun created a dangerous safety situation using Twitter. This is a unique opportunity to use the internet, social media, and Justin Bieber’s star power to help make our communities safer.”
Rice said that on November 20, 2009, Bieber was scheduled to sign autographs at the clothing store, Justice, inside the mall from 4 to 6 p.m. By 1 p.m., more than 3,000 people had gathered in the parking garage staging area. Police received 911 calls during this time to warn of the dangerous situation in the garage and concerns that people would be “trampled.” Police arrived to see hazardous overcrowding in the garage which blocked emergency routes.
The Nassau County Police Department and mall security decided that the event should be cancelled for public safety reasons and informed IDJ personnel and the crowd. Police efforts to disperse the crowd were hindered by a message from Bieber’s Twitter account stating: “On my way to Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, NY to sign and meet fans! I’m pumped. See u there.”
At about 2:50 p.m., police asked Bieber’s on-site staff to send a Tweet from his account to notify fans that the event was cancelled. Though they tried, IDJ employees were unable Tweet on Bieber’s account because Braun had changed the account’s password to prevent anyone from cancelling the event. He hoped the overgrown crowd would earn Bieber national news coverage.
After the crowd dangerously swelled for more than 90 minutes, Braun finally sent two Tweets at about 4:30 and 4:33 p.m. cancelling the event. Within 15 minutes of Braun’s Tweets on Bieber’s account, the crowd dispersed.
“The efforts of Mr. Bieber’s management company, Remster 3 LLC to finally comply with the request of the Nassau County Police Department ultimately made it possible to safely and quickly disperse a crowd of thousands of young people,” Rice said. “I am aware that both IDJ and Mr. Bieber’s management company have learned from this incident, and since the Roosevelt Field appearance, have successfully implemented carefully executed safety plans at other venues.”
“The case is also significant in that it shows how a social media website can be misused to put people at risk”, Rice said. “It holds a defendant criminally responsible for conduct on a social media website regardless of his or her location. In the case against Remster 3 LLC, the charges of which were reviewed and upheld by the Court, the defendant, whose location was unknown, was informed of a dangerous crowd situation at the mall in Nassau County but changed the password on Bieber’s Twitter account so that no one could access the account to help the police disperse the crowd by sending the necessary tweet.
“The act of blocking the account and preventing the Tweet was criminal”, RIce said. “It is fitting that a case borne out of cyber irresponsibility should be resolved in sending a message to young people about the importance of acting responsibly online. 5-8-11
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