Sheriff drops investigation of The Game over 'phone mob' tweet [Updated]
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday abruptly ended its investigation into rapper The Game less than a week after a message from his Twitter account jammed calls for hours at the Compton station.
Sheriff's officials noted that The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Terrell Taylor, decided to apologize for the incident.
[Updated at 6:04 p.m.: Capt. Mike Parker said in an interview that the decision to end the probe came after officials concluded there was not enough evidence to move forward.
"I have been consistent in saying we were going to gather all the evidence pertinent to this case and to present it to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office for consideration of a criminal filing," Parker said. "In the end, based upon the facts known to us at this time, we are not seeking criminal charges. However, if new facts were to come to light, it could change our stance."]
Earlier this week, the department had vowed to investigate several potential criminal charges against him and present a case to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
"His willingness to help share with the media and the community that the safety of the public is what is most important, is a great message," Parker said in an earlier statement.
"Freedom of speech is part of what has made this country great. Peace officers are sworn to uphold and protect that right, and we welcome that responsibility," he said. "The challenge is that law enforcement, the news media, and celebrities are also facing the challenge of how to address each new social media issue that arises."
A message posted on The Game's Twitter account last week encouraged his 580,000 followers to telephone if they wanted an internship. The tweet gave no indication that the phone number was the Compton station's official help line.
Several legal experts expressed skepticism that officials could build a case against The Game.
Defense attorney Mark Geragos said earlier this week that trying to criminalize tweets or Facebook messages runs "smack dab" into the 1st Amendment.
"It's a very nuanced area," Geragos said of speech in social media. "But in this case it doesn't come close to being criminal. You are talking about expressing ideas," Geragos said. "It's no different when political action committees tell their followers in advance of a vote to contact their congressman or senator by phone or by email."
-- Andrew Blankstein and Robert Faturechi
Photo: Rapper The Game arrives at the BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in June. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images