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Rapper The Game apologizes for 'flashcalls,' blames friend

By Michael Martinez, CNN
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Rapper: Tweet not meant to cause harm
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: No criminal charges to be pursued against Jayceon Taylor, aka The Game
  • The rapper apologized earlier Wednesday for the incident
  • The rapper says a friend used his phone to tweet "random numbers"
  • Hundreds of The Game's followers flooded the sheriff's station with calls

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday authorities will not pursue criminal charges against a rap artist after he apologized for his Twitter account's role in causing a deluge of telephone calls into the department's Compton station.

The Game, whose real name is Jayceon Taylor and who also uses the name Charles Louboutin on his Twitter page, apologized earlier Wednesday for a tweet that gave the sheriff's station's phone number, prompting hundreds of his followers to overwhelm deputies and dispatchers with calls.

The sheriff's department issued a statement in response, saying the apology was "relevant and well received."

"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," the department said.

"Based upon our investigation, as well as consultation with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the LASD considers the criminal investigation into this matter closed. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will not be seeking criminal charges."

In issuing his apology, Taylor said it wasn't he, but a friend, who tweeted the phone number, and that it was purely an accident that the station number was tweeted.

"It was a simple mishap," the rapper said. "I was doing a photo shoot, and it was downtown Los Angeles, and one of my boys picked up my phone and started tweeting random numbers.

"Whenever his phone is laying around and my phone is laying around, we tweet from each other's page. That's what happened," the rapper said.

The tweet on Friday that gave the phone number was confused with an earlier tweet about a music internship that the rapper was offering to any of his more than 580,000 followers on his Twitter page, Taylor said.

"The tweet about the internship was earlier in that day, and it got lost in the media with all that. He never sent out a tweet that said these numbers are for the internship. He tweeted a bunch of numbers jokingly. We always play pranks on each other," he said.

But Taylor took responsibility for the early tweets about the internship.

"We had already contacted (the interns) and had the interns come to the photo shoot and start working," Taylor said. "None of (the tweets) stated call this number for an internship."

The rapper added: "My sincerest apologies to the sheriff's department, and it was a joke gone wrong."

Sheriff's Department Capt. Mike Parker said authorities had considered charging The Game with at least three misdemeanors.

The sheriff's department alleged that the rapper's tweets appeared to be listing the sheriff's station in Compton as the contact number for the internship, prompting the mad rush of calls that forced the sheriff's office to bring in additional manpower to answer phones.

Authorities said the calls lasted two hours Friday evening and that help was delayed in response to urgent calls about a missing person, a spousal assault, two robberies and a stolen car.

"I never want to be the source of anything happening wrong to anybody or anybody not being able to get through to the help lines at the police station," Taylor said. "I don't ever want to see anyone hurt. I've got kids at home. I'm not that guy."

Taylor said the tweets on his account listed a 10-digit phone for the sheriff's station: "When people are in trouble, they call 911, and that's not to take away from the police and them doing a job or them saying there was a robbery."

Many residents dial a station directly with the 10-digit number for urgent calls, even though the 911 emergency is at their disposal, a sheriff's department spokesman said.

The Game was nominated twice in the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006: Best rap song for "Hate It or Love It," which he wrote, and best rap performance by a duo or a group for the same song, with 50 Cent, a Grammy spokeswoman said. The Game didn't win in either category.

Parker told CNN that the incident is a "societal" lesson.

"People love social media and they are using it in fun and interesting ways. But it doesn't mean that there isn't a rough edge to it," the sheriff's spokesman said. "In the past the news media was the only entity that could send a message in a fast way. Now celebrities with social media are able to do it now too. All the lessons that were learned by the news media over the years about the pros and the cons (of media), people with a large social media following, they are not familiar with those lessons.

"We as a society have an interesting situation on our hands. We see it in flash mob activity. Intentionally or not, challenging situations developing on a moment's notice can occur. So law enforcement agencies are determining how best to monitor that without impeding people's freedom of speech."

Authorities are calling the incident a "telephone flash mob" or "flashcalls," which is a sudden and overwhelming number of phone calls and is the latest riff on unlawful conduct originating from social media, Parker said.

"Flash mobs" began as an innocent organizing of individuals through social media to do spur-of-the-moment dances in public spaces such as a mall or a park, but increasingly, social media have been used to organize flash mobs for criminal activity, evidenced in the recent riots in London and in Vancouver, Canada, this year after the Stanley Cup loss, Parker said.

The so-called flashcall or telephone flash mob is the newest twist on the trend, he said.

"I see this as another iteration, another version of the social media phenomenon," Parker said.

 
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