MIAMI BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - Teen pop star Justin Bieber was arrested in Miami Beach early on Thursday on a drunken driving charge after he was caught drag racing on a main thoroughfare in a rented yellow Lamborghini, police said.
The 19-year-old Canadian singer initially resisted arrest, cursed at police officers and later told them he had consumed alcohol, pot and prescription drugs, police said. A judge set his bail at $2,500.
He was later released and escorted from jail by correctional officers. Wearing a hoodie and dark sunglasses, Bieber climbed on top of a waiting SUV to wave to fans.
“He’s everything to me,” said Amanda Perez, a 19-year-old fan. “This came out to be a disaster but I still love him from the bottom of my heart.”
“The rough times he is going through, all of his fans have to be here to support him,” said Salynn Chiong, 20, adding she hoped he goes into rehab “and takes a break from the chaos he is living in.”
Bieber’s arrest is his most serious run-in with the law during a year in which his erratic behaviour has ranged from allegations of speeding through his gated community near Los Angeles to heated scuffles with paparazzi.
Just after 4 a.m. EST on Thursday (1000 GMT), officers observed Bieber’s Lamborghini alongside another driver in a red Ferrari accelerate from a stop position on a four-lane road in a residential area just a few blocks from the South Beach tourist district, Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez said.
Two SUVs had blocked off the road so the “Boyfriend” singer could race a friend who was driving the rented red sports car, police said.
Bieber was driving the sports car 55 to 60 miles per hour (88 to 96 km per hour) in a 30-mile-per-hour (48 kph) zone. He was also charged with resisting arrest without violence and driving on an expired Georgia license, Miami Beach police spokeswoman Vivian Hernandez said.
The singer was “a little belligerent, using some choice words,” when arrested, Martinez said, but he grew cooperative at the police station. His mug shot shows him smiling.
In the arrest report, an officer said Bieber had bloodshot eyes and alcohol on his breath. The singer told police he was returning from a studio recording session and repeatedly asked why he had been stopped and arrested.
“Why did you stop me?” he asked, according to the report. “Why do you have to search me?”
Bieber later acknowledged that he had taken prescription medicine, had been smoking marijuana and had consumed alcohol, Martinez said.
Representatives for Bieber and his mother, Pattie Mallette, said they had no comment about his arrest.
The singer appeared at his bail hearing Thursday afternoon via video from the jail where he was being held. He made no comment during the brief proceedings.
His friend, identified as R&B singer Khalil Sharieff, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. His bail was set at $1,000.
High-powered criminal defence attorney Roy Black, who also has represented radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, actor Kelsey Grammer and Kennedy family member William Kennedy Smith, appeared in court on behalf of both men.
“This hopefully will proceed as any other case,” Black said after the hearing.
The police department in the Florida city of Opa-locka is investigating whether two of its officers gave Bieber an unauthorized escort on Monday night after his private jet landed at the local airport, said city spokesman David Chiverton.
He confirmed the city also was looking into whether officers escorted Bieber to the King of Diamonds strip club in Miami Gardens.
“We’re investigating whether our police department escorted him there,” said Chiverton. “You can have fun in Miami, but not too much fun.”
Bieber’s erratic behaviour has at times overshadowed his music career in the last year as the singer who shot to fame at age 15 transitions to adulthood.
Earlier this month, detectives in California raided Bieber’s home after he was accused of pelting a neighbour’s house with eggs.
Celebrities quickly weighed in on Twitter about Bieber’s latest run-in with police.
“Doesn’t Hollywood have any original ideas?” comedic actor Michael Ian Black wrote. “I’ve seen this Bieber movie so many times.”
Additional reporting by David Adams, Ben Gruber, Eric Kelsey and Zachary Cook; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Gunna Dickson