UPDATE: The Game is off the hook over this Twitter peccadillo, with L.A. County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker saying that, based on the department's investigation and a chat with the District Attorney's Office, they would not be pressing charges. He called The Game's apology on CNN "relevant and well-received."
Was it a practical joke? A hacked Twitter account? Whether he was trying to be funny or not, The Game could seriously be charged for criminal annoyance.
The "How We Do" rapper is on the wrong end of a criminal investigation after a tweet sent from his Twitter account Friday urged followers to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, tying up emergency phone lines for a good two hours.
According to the sheriff's department, the Game (real name Jayceon Taylor) issued a tweet at approximately 5:23 p.m. listing a phone number that fans could supposedly call to get a musical internship.
Trouble was, the number was for the switchboard at the Compton sheriff's station. The resulting phone jam was so severe it ended up overwhelming dispatchers fielding real emergency calls and causing delays in responding to a missing-persons case, 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 911 calls, and for dispatchers to send help to people who really needed it," says department Capt. Mike Parker. "We don't know how many people needed help but couldn't get through the overwhelmed phone lines."
Initially, deputies assumed it was a technical snafu on their end because of all the hang ups. But it didn't take long before they tracked the source to the Game's Twitter account.
By 7 p.m., Capt. Parker tweeted the Game demanding he remove the message. "Plz delete Tweet off UR wall of phone# that begins with 310: #LASD #Compton #Sheriff This is compromising public safety. Hi # calls."
That slowed the flood of calls to the public helpline, but the sheriff's department wasn't done with the rapper just yet, announcing a criminal probe that could see Game potentially charged with making annoying or harassing phone calls via electronic device or the Internet, delaying or obstructing peace officers in the performance of their duties, and knowingly and maliciously impeding communications over a public safety radio frequency.
For his part, the Game is playing dumb, claiming he was hacked by someone with the Twitter handle @wackstar.
"Yall can track a tweet down but cant solve murders ! Dat was an accident but maybe now yall can actually do yall job !!!! #iSpeak4ThePeople," whined the rap star.
He also sent a denial the Los Angeles Times: "It wasn't me (shaggy voice)."
Accident or not, the sheriff's department is taking it seriously enough that it's planning to file charges with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, which could lead to jail time if Game's convicted.
If indeed the culprit was this mysterious @waskstar, Game had a message for him as well.