Cops to Subpoena Twitter After Threat of 'Batman'-Style Attack on Broadway

By Alan Neuhauser on August 7, 2012 9:04am | Updated on August 7, 2012 12:01pm

Police responded to the Longacre Theatre as a precaution last weekend after learning a Twitter user had threatened a 'Batman'-style shooting massacre there.
Police responded to the Longacre Theatre as a precaution last weekend after learning a Twitter user had threatened a 'Batman'-style shooting massacre there.
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Getty Images/Michael Loccisano

NEW YORK — The NYPD plans to subpoena Twitter Tuesday to identify a user who tweeted that he was planning a "Batman"-style massacre at a Broadway theater.

"ima shoot that theater up tonight trust me," Twitter user @obamasmistress, who goes by the alias Anonymous Celebrity, wrote to another user Friday. The recipient had tweeted that she was  standing in line for the opening night of Mike Tyson's show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," which is directed by filmmaker Spike Lee.

The day before, @obamasmistress told another user, "i said you on my hit list too. This sh-- ain't no joke yo I'm serious people are gonna die just like in aurora," a reference to the Colorado town where 12 people were killed and 58 were injured when a gunman opened fire at a packed midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20.

Cops responded to the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street as a precaution after they learned of the threats, and sent an "emergency request" to Twitter to release any information it had on the user, police said.

Twitter, in an email not sent until the next day, declined the request.

“We appreciate the timeliness and sensitivity of this matter, and have reviewed the reported Twitter account,” the e-mail said.

“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."

The NYPD reportedly obtained a subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office Monday to force Twitter to reveal more details about the account holder.

@obamasmistress' messages were part of a long line of violent threats against random users, companies and celebrities, including actress Ellen Page and Business Insider magazine, that were posted on the users stream.

"I'm in Florida rite now," the user wrote Friday, "but it'll happen i promise I'm just finishing up my hit list."

No violence was reported at the opening night of 'Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,' Aug. 2, 2012. Tyson stars in the one-man play, which was directed by Spike Lee.
No violence was reported at the opening night of 'Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,' Aug. 2, 2012. Tyson stars in the one-man play, which was directed by Spike Lee.
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Getty Images/Michael Loccisano

The incident comes 10 days after Twitter stumbled into a media firestorm by suspending the account of Guy Adams, a reporter for Britain's Independent newspaper who had been criticizing NBC's Olympics coverage.

He was suspended when he included the email address of the NBC Olympics chief in one of his posts. Adams' suspension sparked outrage against Twitter and NBC, and the social media site restored the reporter's account July 31.

Twitter declined to comment on this weekend's incident with the NYPD. Phone calls to the Longacre Theatre Tuesday morning also were not answered.

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