Pop star Justin Bieber was arrested on drag-racing, driving under the influence and resisting arrest charges yesterday after allegedly speeding down a residential Miami Beach street in a yellow Lamborghini on an expired license.
He was being held at a Miami-Dade County jail pending an initial appearance expected later yesterday.
Authorities say Bieber was arrested after police saw him and R&B singer Khalil racing two luxury vehicles down the street at 4.09 am, with two other vehicles apparently being used to block off the area. Both Bieber and Khalil face drag-racing and driving under the influence charges.
Police Chief Ray Martinez said the singer was initially not co-operative when the officer pulled him over. Martinez said the singer also had an invalid Georgia driver's license and admitted to smoking marijuana, taking prescription medication and drinking.
According to police, Bieber was driving a Lamborghini and Khalil was driving a Ferrari. Both cars were towed. Police say Bieber was clocked at around 100km/h in a 50km/h zone.
According to the arrest report, Bieber "had slow deliberate movements" and a look of stupor on his face when the officer ordered him to exit his vehicle. The 19-year-old Bieber was placed under arrest after repeatedly refusing to put his hands on his vehicle so the officer could pat him down to look for weapons, the report said. It says he cursed several times at the officer and demanded to know why he was being arrested.
Bieber failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Miami Beach police station for a breath test, police said. Results have not been released.
Television footage showed a van thought to be carrying Bieber from a Miami Beach police station to a Miami-Dade County jail. The van, with blacked-out windows, was trailed by squad cars.
His publicist, Melissa Victor, did not offer an immediate comment.
The street where police say Bieber was racing in mid-Miami Beach is a four-lane residential street divided by a grass median dotted with palm trees. Along one side of the street are small apartment buildings, and on the other side are a high school, a youth centre, a golf course and a city firehouse.
Jose Torres, whose company is installing an alarm system at the youth centre, said he was not surprised people would use the straightaway to drag race.
"This street is empty at night. There's nobody out here at night," Torres said.
It's a short drive from the area to trendy South Beach, where celebrities are known to let loose. George Avilas, who lives nearby, said he didn't hear anything, but was not surprised to hear that people might be drag-racing.
"There's so much partying in Miami Beach, it's been known to happen," he said. "It's 4 o'clock in the morning, everybody is just getting out of the bars."
Bieber's arrival in Florida earlier this week also is under investigation. Authorities in the suburban Miami city of Opa-locka are investigating whether the singer was given a police escort when he landed on Monday at the Opa-locka Executive Airport.
"The escort was unauthorised by police administration," said Assistant City Manager David Chiverton.
At least two marked police cars provided Bieber with an escort from the airport, but it was not clear where they went, he said. Police escorts from the airport are not uncommon, but they must follow procedure because they involve city vehicles.
Earlier this month, officials said that detectives in California searched Bieber's home looking for surveillance footage that might serve as evidence the pop star was involved in an egg-tossing vandalism case that caused thousands of dollars in damage to a neighbour's home. Officials said Bieber was at the home and co-operated with authorities. In that case, authorities arrested one member of Bieber's entourage on suspicion of drug possession: Lil Za, a rapper whose real name is Xavier Smith.