Despite video footage showing Justin Bieber riding his motorcycle behind his Ferrari while it was driven by another driver in his Calabasas, CA neighborhood on Memorial Day, Los Angeles Sheriff's officials say it doesn't clear the singer of speeding allegations.
The police's reasoning is that the footage only recorded activity in the driveway of the teen star's Calabasas residence, but doesn't reveal any visual information about who was driving the white Ferrari on the roads of the gated neighborhood before it entered the driveway.
The security video footage was recorded by a camera installed at Bieber's property.
L.A. County Sheriff's officials are investigating the singer after two witnesses --- one of which is ex-NFL star Keyshawn Johnson --- told the police they saw the 19-year-old in the driver's seat speeding his white Ferrari in the community on Monday, May 27.
Tyler, The Creator, a 22-year-old rapper, claimed he was driving Bieber's Ferrari in a statement posted to his Twitter account on June 1.
Although TMZ previously reported that police obtained the security video from Bieber's residence over Memorial Day weekend, in fact the video was given to the police by Bieber's legal team who say the pop star only got into the driver's seat of his Ferrari in his driveway to park it in his garage. The video was turned over as evidence to exonerate the "Baby" singer.
From the Los Angeles Times:
"Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials say the video shows the Ferrari in the driveway with another driver and Bieber getting off a motorcycle, then getting into the sports car and parking it. The video reveals nothing about the car's drive around the neighborhood, authorities said."
"Shortly after Bieber entered the garage, former USC and NFL star Keyshawn Johnson arrived to confront Bieber for allegedly speeding in local streets with children present."
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore has said there is "at least one eyewitness" who identified Bieber as the speeding driver. He added that the decision whether to file a reckless driving charge against the pop star will be made by the District Attorney's Office.
These police statements are back-dropped by the reportedly tense relationship between Bieber and his neighbors due to past and present accusations of reckless driving and anti-social behavior by not only the singer, but his friends who have previously been stopped for speeding in the area while driving his cars.
A battery investigation of Bieber for allegedly spitting on and threatening to kill a neighbor in March during an argument about alleged instances of speeding by the teen star and his friends is also ongoing.
So what do we actually have here?
Previous citations against Bieber notably include being stopped for speeding on July 6, 2012, on the 101 Freeway in San Fernando Valley after he was chased by paparazzi. On November 14, 2012, the singer was pulled over while driving his white Ferrari in the 600 block Hayward Avenue, West Hollywood. L.A. police cited him for making an unsafe left turn and an expired registration.
However, despite this context, for the purposes of the present alleged reckless driving investigation, evidence regarding the events of May 27 is all that can be considered.
1: As IQ previously noted, the key questions in this case are at what point in the journey the witnesses claim to have seen Bieber driving, and how clearly --- given the "up to 100 mph" speed they themselves claim the Ferrari was traveling at.
2: Given that Johnson himself previously dismissed the idea that Bieber switched seats with Tyler [Gregory Okonma] in the driveway, why is it now likely that the Canadian switched transports with Okonma at some point in the journey to his house?
In an exclusive area like Calabasas it's likely most, if not all, the residences will have security cameras installed. If such a switch took place, time will tell if one of the cameras along the Ferrari's route filmed it.
3: Okonma has stated that he was driving the Ferrari in what is a widely reported and highly scrutinized case. Officials will have to decide if it seems probable that he would admit to a liability that will likely incur the full weight of the law being brought against him.
4: Stating that the security video doesn't reveal the whole of the Ferrari's journey is not evidence that the car was driven by Bieber, but an observation that the footage is localized and limited.
5: The onus of proving that Bieber got out of the driver's seat of his Ferrari then rode his motorcycle onto his driveway --- which perhaps presupposes that he knew he was being followed --- lies with L.A. police authorities.
The D.A's office will make a decision after weighing the concerns of Calabasas' residents, witness statements, Bieber's denial that he was driving his Ferrari during the time and day in question, and Okonma's public declaration that he was.
At this point, it's vital that authorities not only judge this case fairly, but are seen to be judging it fairly.That means proving the reckless driving allegations beyond reasonable doubt based on the facts, and the facts alone.
The investigation continues.
[Image via Just Jared]