Justin Bieber's Charges Dropped. Did the Cops Lie?


Miami Beach Police

Pop singer and public nuisance Justin Bieber was arrested last week by the Miami Beach Police. While the the #FreeBieber and #DeportBieber camps of the Twitterverse were clashing harder than Ukrainians in the streets of Kiev, information that contradicted the police report began to trickle out. Now, Miami-Dade County appears to have quietly dropped several of the charges against Bieber.

Last Thursday, Bieber was pulled over while driving a rented Lamborghini. He was allegedly participating in a drag race with rapper Khalil Shareif. The police report states that the cars were moving at about "55-60 mph" in a 30 mph residential zone. An officer pulled the singer over and "immediately smelled an odor of alcohol eminating (sic) from the driver's breath and bloodshot eyes. The driver had slow deliberate movements and a stuper (sic) look on his face."

Beiber repeatedly asked, "Why did you stop me?" and "What the fuck did I do?"

After disregarding repeated instructions that he keep his hands visible, the singer was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, driving with an expired license, and resisting arrest without violence. 

A spokesman for department later added new details during a press conference, claiming that "during the investigation, Mr. Bieber made statements that he had consumed some alcohol, and that he had been smoking marijuana, and consumed some prescription medication."

Yet, various reports and inconsistencies indicate that the cops may have fudged some information.

The Huffington Post highlights a few errors with police report. It "has marked 'Known' when it comes to 'Indication of alcohol influence' but 'Unknown' is the box checked regarding drug influence. So had Bieber informed the police what he was on, they didn't put it down as such." The Post also points out that the department had a few other (less egregious) errors, such as marking Bieber as an American citizen and mistaking his birthplace as Toronto instead of London, Ontario.

The Miami Herald writes that "Bieber's breath test did not show any substantive alcohol use. He blew .014 and .011, well below the legal limit." This raises some questions about whether Bieber's car really reeked of alcohol. As Reason's Jacob Sullum and Scott Shackford have covered in the past, police don't always accurately identify smells.

TMZ claims that "the place where Justin and Khalil rented the cars attached a GPS device that also tracks speed," and that "5 blocks before cops noticed them they were going 34 MPH in a 30 mph zone. Blocks later, they were steady at 27 mph." A surveillance video released by CBS Miami corroborates this, showing an underwhelmingly slow "drag race" and police pursuit.

Several sources have noted that the case information listed on the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts website lists the charge of resisting arrest. This indicates that the county is not pursuing the DUI and expired license charges.

For a different angle on Justin Bieber at Reason, read Shikha Dalmia's article on immigration and watch Paul Detrick's video below: