Police charge Justin Bieber with assault
TORONTO, Canada - Agence France-Presse
Canadian musician Justin Bieber is swarmed by media and police officers as he turns himself into city police for an expected assault charge, in Toronto, on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. AP PhotoCanadian police charged pop star Justin Bieber on Wednesday with the December assault of a limousine driver, shortly after the 19-year-old had turned himself in.
The young heartthrob will go before court on March 10, Toronto police said in a statement that came out just over two hours after he had handed himself in, amid chaotic scenes.
The charges are the latest run-in with the law for the teen star after his Los Angeles home was searched because he allegedly hurled eggs at a neighbor's house, and his arrest in Miami Beach on January 23 for drag racing and impaired driving.
"On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Justin Bieber, 19, of Calabasas, California, surrendered to police at 52 Division," the Toronto police statement said, adding the troubled star will go before court at Toronto's Old City Hall.
Bieber is accused of hitting a limousine driver "several times" over the back of the head. The car had picked he and five others up from a nightclub in the city in the early hours of December 30.
"While driving the group to a hotel, an altercation occurred between one of the passengers and the driver of the limousine," the statement said.
"In the course of the altercation, a man struck the limousine driver on the back of the head several times.
"The driver stopped the limousine, exited the vehicle and called police. "The man who struck him left the scene before police arrived." Earlier, wearing a baseball cap turned backwards and a black hooded winter coat, the singer entered the station in Toronto escorted by officers who rushed him through a large crowd of screaming fans and journalists.
"Move back, don't push! Don't push!" a police officer said as girls shrieked at the sight of Bieber's large black limousine. CTV television said the heartthrob pulled up around 7:30 pm (0030 GMT Friday).
Fans rushed in holding up smartphones hoping get a picture of the clean-cut, baby-faced young star turned tattooed, barely adult bad boy.
A girl screamed "I love you, Justin, I love you!" as dozens of cameras flashed to light up the night.
The singer also got in trouble with the authorities in Australia and Brazil for spraying graffiti. In Brazil, Bieber was photographed emerging under a blanket from a notorious Rio brothel and later tried in vain to bring prostitutes into the posh Copacabana Palace.
Bieber said he was not guilty of the charges filed against him in Florida last week -- including drunk driving, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license. In a filing by the pop star's attorneys to a Miami court, Bieber formally rejected the charges.
The White House, meanwhile, was asked to weigh in on Bieber's bad behavior after it received a petition with more than 100,000 signatures calling for the Canadian-born signer to be deported.
By 9:00 pm Wednesday (0200 GMT Thursday), a petition on the White House website calling for the deportation of the Canadian-born teen idol had garnered more than 155,300 names -- easily surpassing the threshold of 100,000 signatures required for presidential consideration.
"We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture," says the petition, created by one "J.A." in Detroit the day Bieber was busted in Miami Beach.
"We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive and drug-abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation's youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society." Bieber is understood to be living and working in the United States under a renewable O-1 visa for entertainers, rather than a green card for permanent resident status.
It remains unclear whether Bieber's visa to stay in the United States would be affected by his legal issues.