NYPD Investigates Threats Against Mike Tyson's Broadway Show; Twitter Now Cooperating
After a Twitter user wrote, "People are gonna die like Aurora," local police in New York pressed the social media service to ID the tweeter.
The New York Police Department says that Twitter is complying with a subpoena to provide information about an individual who tweeted threats to carry out an Aurora-style shooting at the Broadway production of Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed Twitter's cooperation to The Hollywood Reporter.
The individual in question sent out disturbing tweets including "I might just shoot up this theater in New York," "I know they leave their exit doors unlocked," "I got 600 people on my hit list and that's gonna be a mass murder for real," and "I'm serious, people are gonna die like Aurora."
The tweets were identified for investigation by the NYPD intelligence division late last week.
After the threatening tweets were flagged, the police agency used an emergency system set up by Twitter to contact the social media website for identifying information. But Twitter at first declined to provide info, deeming it to not be a serious threat.
Twitter sent back an e-mail to the NYPD that read, "While we do invoke emergency-disclosure procedures when it appears that a threat is present, specific and immediate, this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters as per our policies.”
The social media website has been under tremendous pressure from law enforcement over the past year to provide user communications and account information in ongoing investigations throughout the nation. In the past, in cases such as ones involving Occupy Wall Street protesters, Twitter has argued that handing over such information would constitute a violation of its users' terms of service as well as a violation of the "search and seizure" provisions of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
But in the wake of the Aurora tragedy that killed 12 people in a movie theater and left dozens of others injured, pressure on Twitter has reached a new level of urgency.
The NYPD served a subpoena on Twitter for more information on the individual who allegedly promised to unleash mayhem on the Longacre Theatre in New York City, where Mike Tyson is performing his one-man show directed by Spike Lee.
As the NYPD has beefed up security around that theater, the police department now says that Twitter is cooperating. Meanwhile, the Twitter user who kicked up a fuss has disabled his account.
Two weeks ago, in the U.K., a man successfully appealed a conviction after tweeting his plans to blow up Robin Hood Airport. After the defendant was convicted and fined, a high court in London later agreed with the man that it was obviously a "silly joke."
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @eriqgardner