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4 People Who Got An Arrest Record Because Of Twitter

July 23rd, 2013 by Andreas Xavier in Jail records. Topics:

Can Twitter give you an arrest record? If you tweet something the police interpret as threatening, it certainly can. In light of heightened security threats, police forces everywhere are keeping a close eye on social media accounts to see if anyone publicly makes a comment that might lead to real violence.

Here are just four real tales of tweeters who got arrested for a comment shorter than 140 characters.

1) Pink Fan Makes Explosive Tweet

A teenage Pink fan in Australia claims he was merely referencing the song “Timebomb” when he tweeted “@Pink I’m ready with my Bomb. Time to blow up #RodLaverArena. B*tch.” The security at the Rod Laver Arena apparently didn’t get the reference. Shortly after spotting the tweet online, they scanned the crowd for the offending tweeter. When they found him, security hauled him away and handed him over to police, leaving his parents to bail him out.

2) Threat To Obama Leads to 6-Month Prison Sentence

Threatening the president is a surefire way to catch the attention of the secret service, as Donte Jamar Sims learned in 2012. He was allegedly high when he tweeted “Ima Assassinate president Obama this evening” and other threatening comments. He was arrested, given a six-month sentence, and later wrote a letter to Obama apologizing for the hurtful tweets.

3) Disgruntled Flyer Is Fined For Tweet

Paul Chambers, 27, was sick of chronic delays at his airport. So he decided to blow off some steam by tweeting “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” The tweet was discovered by an an airport employee a few days later, who gave it to airport security.  The security team determined it wasn’t a credible threat, but they gave it over to the police just in case.   The police took it a bit more seriously, arresting Chambers, who was later charged with a fine.  He maintains, however, that  the comment was simply “hyperbole.”

4) Tweeting Police Position Puts Man In Prison

In 2009, protesters organized to voice their opposition the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh.  Police were very unhappy that Elliot Madison, 41, used Twitter to help the throng of activists avoid arrest and broadcast police movement. So ironically they arrested him and raided his New York home. According to Reuters “The criminal complaint against Madison said he broke the law by using Twitter to direct unlawful protesters and other people involved in criminal acts to avoid arrest and to inform them of police movements and actions.”

Be Careful With What You Tweet

The lesson here: Making threats is usually a bad idea, but it’s always a bad idea when it’s on a public platform like twitter. An offhanded comment that might get a few chuckles out of your friends could land your arrest record on Instant Checkmate if it is spotted by a police officer who takes it more literally than you intended. 

Justin Handley is a blogger who writer about social media, crime, and personal safety.

About the author
Andreas co-founded Xavier Media® in 1996 and has since been involved in all kinds of development, marketing and making money online.


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