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Refuse to tweet for the police

That will get you arrested:

Police arrested a vice president from Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam Records, saying he wasn’t cooperating with attempts to disperse the crowd.

James Roppo, 44, of Hoboken, N.J., was charged with a series of misdemeanors, including 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.”

15 Responses to “Refuse to tweet for the police”

  1. Mikee Says:

    And by twittering, any misadventures suffered by those who either stayed or left would be upon his head, rather than upon the local authorities. He wisely (in a liability point of view) refrained from inserting himself (and accepting all the liability) into a situation that had evolved between those responsible for security at the event (the local authorities) and the participants who were endangered by their own rowdiness.

    Hey, either he was already negligent for not having adequate security at this event, or he wasn’t, or the locals were already negligent for it, or they weren’t. That is the sort of thing that civil trials for damages love to sort out in great detail with the perfect perspective of hindsight, long after the problem is over and done. He wasn’t about to fall on a legal grenade at the request of the locals, just to spread even more liability upon himself, just because they asked.

    Maybe if they had given him a note saying they had requested he send out the message, and that THEY assumed all liability for his sending that message, he could have safely complied.

    And maybe he will lose at trial, if it comes to that, but only misdemeanors are involved, not potential millions in damages in a civil suit.

  2. Ian Argent Says:

    Should be a slam-dunk 1A case; the .gov should not be able to compel speech w/o at least a subpoena.

    Won’t be, of course

  3. Flighterdoc Says:

    Ian, under what circumstances should a government be able to compel you to say anything?

  4. Billy Beck Says:

    #3 — None at all. Full stop.

  5. Weer'd Beard Says:

    +1

  6. Wolfwood Says:

    Ian, under what circumstances should a government be able to compel you to say anything?

    Maybe if there’s a pre-existing duty, especially if you contracted for it. I suspect that if the city had a rule that to use the venue you had to agree to comply with reasonable requests by the police for assistance it would be upheld by the courts. If that’s the case here then they’ll probably win at trial.

    They couldn’t physically tie you down and make you tap the keys, but they could hold you legally responsible for not assisting.

  7. Flighterdoc Says:

    The Church had a rule that made Galileo recant. The ancient Greeks had a rule that made Socrates drink the hemlock…

    If there is a contractual obligation, the city is free to seek recompense in civil court.

  8. Wolfwood Says:

    Yes, the Nazis had some rule, the Communists had some rule…any other bugaboos we’ve missed?

    That said, if the defendant had already agreed (or if there’s some specific sort of Good Samaritan law) to help as a condition for being able to use the place then I have no problem with him being prosecuted. Failure to act can certainly be a crime, even a felony, and that’s just the way the law is.

  9. B Woodman Says:

    Ummm, and der polozi couldn’t do this tweeting themselves?

    Over. And out.

  10. straightarrow Says:

    Aren’t these the same sonsofbitches who say we cannot “take the law into their own hands”? Yet, the arrest this guy for not doing their job? C’mon.

  11. nk Says:

    I think maybe this is what did it:

    Some kids and their parents had camped out before dawn for the 4 p.m. event.

    Bieber never made it into the building.

    “They are not allowing me to come into the mall,” he said in a message sent to fans through Twitter, the social networking service. He wrote that police had threatened to arrest him if he didn’t leave.

    If you incite a riot maybe you have a duty to help quell it?

  12. Ian Argent Says:

    “I do solemnly swear/affirm the following testimony is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. That’s one (subject to the limitations of the 5th amendment).

    While I am firmly of the opinion that the subpoena is overused, I don’t believe that it should never be used either.

    However, no judicial review, no grand jury, no nothing. This guy should get summarily released, and all costs borne by the cops, and the relevant lawyers sanctioned.

  13. EgregiousCharles Says:

    I hate the dark and fascist state of New Jersey so freakin’ much.

  14. EgregiousCharles Says:

    Oops, this actually happened in NY. My bad. Well, I hate them too.

  15. Ian Argent Says:

    http://volokh.com/2009/11/23/duty-to-tweet/ – Eugene Volohk on the subject.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

Uncle Pays the Bills


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