Justin Bieber's Drunkenness Exaggerated by Miami Beach Police?
The Biebz in court yesterday, facing his DUI rap.
Beliebers are beliebing that there's been some mistake.
Yesterday, the Miami Beach Police Department confirmed via Twitter that Justin Bieber had been arrested on charges of DUI, resisting arrest without violence, and driving with an expired Georgia driver's license.
Later, the MBPD blasted out the Biebz' mugshot and arrest report via Twitter. And then the department answered accusations of exploiting the pop star for publicity via Twitter.
Now many media outlets are questioning the police's handling of the Bieber bust, criticizing all that @MiamiBeachPD tweeting and even wondering whether Bieber was driving under the influence at all.
— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) January 23, 2014
Predictably, many of Bieber's fans were outraged by the department's decision to hashtag their fave celeb's embarrassing moment as #BreakingNews.
But as @MiamiBeachPD pointed out for these Beliebers, any details (including name, age, sex, address, charges) that aren't considered criminal investigative information (i.e. sensitive data whose release could compromise an ongoing investigation or eventual prosecution) can and must be released according to Florida's Sunshine Law.
What about using the Biebz to grab national attention for MBPD? The public information office insists that it's simply policy to broadcast pertinent information through social media in high-profile cases or natural disasters.
With a bazillion journalists asking for JB's mug, a tweet was way more efficient than replying to individual press requests.
However, beyond cranky fan complaints about being mean to JB, sullying his rep, and exploiting his celebrity, there are others, including TMZ, who are suggesting that maybe Miami Beach Police should never have even arrested and charged the pop star. 'Cause, you know, he wasn't drunk enough.
Citing anonymous "sources connected to the case," the gossip site claims Bieber "had next to NO alcohol in his system," claiming to have "confirmed Justin's actual blood alcohol level ... it was .014" when "law enforcement sources" had previously indicated he'd "had a .04."
The MBPD response: "We said from the beginning that he blew under .08," spokesperson Sgt. Bobby Hernandez tells Crossfade by email.
In Florida, a driver is under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. But if, like the Biebz, he is less than 21 years old, the not-so-wasted operator of the vehicle is still screwed, because the FLA is a zero-tolerance state for underage DUI.
Plus, as Sgt. Hernandez adds: "He was impaired by Alcohol/Marijuana/Prescription medication."
Now, there are no drug test results available to confirm the Biebz' weed and pill intake in the hours leading up to the arrest. But as MBPD chief Raymond Martinez said during yesterday's press conference (and the spokesperson confirms), the pop star apparently admitted to cops that he'd been high behind the wheel.
"It is illegal to drive while impaired regardless of what caused the impairment," Sgt. Hernandez says. "It does not ONLY include alcohol."
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