A New York Police Department spokesman tells WHO musician Kanye West will not face criminal charges for his Sunday evening Twitter post plugging a surprise concert at Webster Hall that resulted in thousands of fans glutting the streets outside the venerated music venue and multiple acts of vandalism.
As an estimated 4,000 people crowded the streets outside Webster Hall in the East Village at 2 a.m.. The crowded conditions outside the hall led dozens of fans to stand on cars, damaging several of them. Despite the chaos, the concert never took place.
One of West's 26-year-old female fans was detained by police Monday and charged with obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, police say.
Shortly before 2 a.m., Webster Hall tweeted, "There is no late show at Webster Hall tonight. Please get home safely."
With thousands awaiting his arrival, West did show up outside Webster Hall on Monday morning. Fans chased after his car, which drove down Second Avenue. West could be seen poking out of the car's sunroof as fans tried keeping up.
West was to close out the final night of New York's Governors Ball's on Randall's Island. The three-day festival's final night was canceled because of inclement weather.
Former NYPD detective Nick Casale tells WHO that, while "careless," there was nothing criminal about West's widespread Webster Hall invitation.
"His actions Sunday were irresponsible, which would almost be a compliment for a guy like Kanye," Casale explains. "In my opinion, what he did Sunday night did not cross the threshold of criminality."
Casale also thinks it is unlikely anyone could pursue civil action against West for Monday morning's mass assemblage.
"I could see one of the people who had their car damaged maybe filing a lawsuit against him, but it's really kind of a stretch to even hold him civilly responsible," Casale says.
Criminal Justice Professor: 'Not Every Dumb Idea Should Be Criminalized
Eugene O'Donnell, a former NYPD policeman who now teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, agrees that West shouldn't be held responsible.
"Not every dumb idea should be criminalized," O'Donnell explains, noting that it would be difficult for prosecutors to bring charges of inciting a crowd or even disorderly conduct against West because it would be nearly impossible to prove his intentions.
"You must show there was some sort of intent behind his Tweet and that he wanted to create a tumultuous situation," O'Donnell states. "It was a really bad idea and totally irresponsible, given this city has a history of people being stampeded and killed in public assemblages that are uncontrolled and spontaneous. It's not a stretch to think a loss of life or some sort of serious injury could have occurred outside that venue. In that regard, he may have dodged a bullet."
Still, O'Donnell claims a prosecutor could conceivably "stretch the limits of the law" and file criminal charges against West to "set an example."
However, "even if what he did is a technical crime, whether the District Attorney would pursue it is another issue," O'Donnell explains. "What he did was highly irresponsible, at a minimum, and people could have been seriously injured of killed. At the most, what he did just shows a complete disregard for the well-being of New York City and his fans."