Five teens were injured and one man was arrested on Friday after fans began pushing and shoving each other trying to get close to 15-year-old music star Justin Bieber at Roosevelt Field Mall, Nassau police said.
Bieber never showed. The event was cancelled when mall security could no longer control the crowd of approximately 3,000 gathered outside the “Justice” store on the second floor.
“People started screaming, ‘Justin!’ And they ran forward and the ropes collapsed,” said 13-year-old Aimee Macchi. She said she was knocked to the floor in the rush. “Everyone was pushing. There was no room to breathe.”
Police say 35 officers were sent to disperse the crowd, but many wouldn’t leave, believing Bieber would still show up.
“They are not allowing me to come into the mall,” Beiber said in a message to fans via Twitter. He wrote that police had threatened to arrest him if he didn’t leave. Bieber later posted, “The event at roosevelt mall is cancelled. please go home. the police have already arrested one person from my camp. I dont want anyone hurt.”
Five minor injuries were reported and 44-year-old James Roppo, senior vice president of sales at Island Def Jam Records was arrested and charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, obstructing government administration, reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance.
“We asked for his help in getting the crowd to go away by sending out a Twitter message,” said Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Smith. “By not cooperating with us, we feel he put lives in danger and the public at risk.”
Bieber came to the attention of the music industry when he began posting videos of himself singing on YouTube in 2007.
With Associated Press