It was the specificity of the threats that made New York police lean on Twitter to turn over the identifying details of a user who said he wanted to shoot up the Longacre Theater, the location where Mike Tyson's one-man show is playing. The company eventually acquiesced, but police still haven't said whether they've arrested their man. The user, going by the now-defunct handle @obamasmistress, wrote, "I’m serious, people are gonna die like Aurora," saying the Longacre, where Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth is playing, didn't lock its emergency doors, an allusion to the method James Holmes allegedly used to return to the Aurora movie theater before opening fire on the crowd. The user tweeted on Aug. 2 he was going to shoot up the theater "tonight."
Twitter, which has very publicly resisted subpoenas in other high-profile cases, had initially denied the cops' request for the user's registration data and IP address after they sent a request late on Friday night, writing: "While we do invoke emergency-disclosure procedures when it appears that a threat is present, specific and immediate, this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters as per our policies," per The New York Post's Jamie Schram. As Daily Intel's Dan Amira pointed out, @obamasmistress has threatened lots and lots of people, "including Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Ellen Page, Rihanna, Perez Hilton, and Wendy Williams," and none of them are dead, so Twitter perhaps had reason to believe @obamasmistress was a garden variety troll.
But after police got the Manhattan district attorney's office to subpoena the company, it agreed on Tuesday to hand over the information, The New York Times' Wendy Ruderman reported. "We felt that a threat involving an identified location in the heart of the theater district merited immediate cooperation," NYPD spokesman Paul Brown said, according to Ruderman. Twitter hasn't commented on the case.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.