New York police got Twitter to comply with a subpoena to identify a user who threatened to attack the Broadway theater where former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s one-man show, “Undisputed Truth,” is playing.
The unidentified user threatened to open fire inside the Longacre Theatre on Broadway during Tyson’s performance.
According to newsday.com, the user tweeted last week, “This s**t aint no joke yo – I’m serious, people are gonna die like aurora.”
The user was referring to the July 20 shooting during a midnight screening of Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 people dead and 58 injured.
“It’s total nonsense,” Tyson’s former sparring partner Joe Munley told Newsday at Tuesday night’s performance of the show. Munley brought his whole family from Scranton, Pa. to see the show. “It’s probably somebody who doesn’t like Mike.”
Jay Pierre, 26, came all the way from Texas to view the show and felt the police were correct in taking every precaution with the threat. “If someone makes a threat like that, I’d take it seriously.”
The NYPD posted two officers armed with tactical gear and automatic rifles next to the theater’s side door.
The NYPD’s Intelligence Division got wind of the threats on Friday night and the next morning petitioned twitter to identify the user, a request they initially declined. A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment, but according to the NYPD this was the response to their initial request.
The email read, “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.”
Screenshots of tweets by the user, whose twitter handle was @obamasmistress, were posted on New York magazine’s website. The user threatened to kill several people, including Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Ellen Page, Chris Brown, Kristen Stewart, Perez Hilton and Wendy Williams.
Twitter’s initial denial of the NYPD’s request is an example of the continual dispute surrounding internet privacy laws and people’s abuse of their constitutional right to free speech.
“When there’s a dispute between First Amendment rights and safety, the courts look at whether there is an ‘imminent and real risk,” Arthur Eisenberg, legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told Newsday. “If there is, judges typically require the subpoena to be enforced.”