- Friday August 12th, 2011 :: 11:18 p.m. PDT
Hundreds of Flashcalls overwhelm phone service to Compton Sheriff's Station [Telephone Flashmob]
In the two hours following 5:23PM on Friday, August 12, hundreds of phone calls were received by Compton Sheriff's Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Many callers hung up as soon as the phone was answered "Compton Sheriff's Station." Many others asked deputies about a music internership.
There were so many phone calls that all of the many phone lines were overwhelmed. For hours, as soon as sheriff's deputies and dispatchers hung up phone lines, they rang again with new callers.
Many emergency calls were received between the hang-ups and music internship questions in the two hours following 5:23PM. Delays in providing help included a missing person, a spousal assault, two robberies and a stolen car.
"These needless phone calls interfered with the ability of sheriff's desk personnel to answer the business line phones and 9-1-1 calls, and for dispatchers to send help to people who really needed it, said Captain Mike Parker, Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau. "We don't know how many people needed help but couldn't get through the overwhelmed phone lines."
Deputies initially thought there was a phone malfunction because of all the phone call hang-ups.
They soon found the source of the phone calls and discovered that a rapper named Charles Louboutin, who is known as "the game" had offered an internship on his Twitter account and gave a few phone numbers to call to apply. At 5:23PM, he posted a phone number that is the public help line for Compton Sheriff's Station. He has nearly 580,000 Twitter followers.
This resulted in a "telephone flashmob" or "flashcalls," which is a sudden and overwhelming number of phone calls.
By 7:00PM deputies had determined what happened and Captain Parker used his Twitter account @mpLASD (http://twitter.com/#!/mplasd) to message the rapper twice, asking him to remove his Twitter posting as it was compromising public safety. (There was no response)
"By about 8:00PM, the calls tapered off to the point that desk deputies and dispatchers could handle the call volume without impeding public safety," said Captain Parker.
The facts of this case will be documented in a criminal complaint for presentation to the district attorney's office in consideration of a criminal filing of:
Annoying or harassing phone calls via electronic device or the internet whether or not conversation ensues, 653m(b), California State Penal Code
Delaying or obstructing peace officers in the performance of their duties, 148(a)(1) California State Penal Code
Person who knowingly and maliciously disrupts or impedes communications over a public safety radio frequency 148(a)(2), California State Penal Code
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Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau – Newsroom
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Twitter @LASD_News http://twitter.com/#!/LASD_News
Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
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