Twitter and web radio carried a new kind of prime-time crime drama in Baltimore over the weekend when a man refused to allow police to serve a warrant and then broadcast the ensuing standoff after a SWAT team arrived, the Baltimore Sun reports. He was on the air live Saturday night for more than 5 hours, much of it spent talking to a police negotiator before surrendering peacefully. Frank James MacArthur, a cabdriver who tweets, blogs, and broadcasts on the Internet as The Baltimore Spectator, left the airwaves just before 11 p.m. He picked up more than 2,000 followers on Twitter during the day and night Saturday.
His media day started Saturday afternoon as he first chronicled on Twitter how police had come to his home earlier in the day to serve a warrant. That audience included Roland Martin, analyst for TVOne and CNN, who tweeted, "Why won't a friend of @BaltoSpectator come by to help him out, as opposed to the cops tearing the doors to arrest him." The live telephone conversation between MacArthur and a police negotiator, Lt. Jason Yerg, seems as if it should have felt more dramatic. MacArthur’s remarks about nd what was being tweeted about him made it feel at times as if he was playing a role or performing rather than engaged in a life and death situation. “I’m a public figure now,” MacArthur said in his conversation with Yerg, which was heard live on Internet radio. “I’m a journalist, and this is my story.”