Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at the Axel Springer Award ceremony in Berlin, Germany, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Police in Southern California said Tuesday they were seeking additional information about an incident last week that Twitter CEO Elon Musk said prompted him to crack down on information about the whereabouts of his private jet.
The Dec. 13 incident near a Los Angeles-area highway has become a flashpoint for a debate about online speech and the dissemination of personal information, although authorities had previously said little about what happened.
Police in South Pasadena said in a statement Tuesday that, contrary to Musk’s assertions about the incident, they believe a member of Musk’s security team hit a man with his car and accused him of following him.
The police called the security team member a “suspect.” They did not say what crimes they suspected him of committing, but they said they were investigating a report of “an assault with a deadly weapon involving a vehicle.”
Musk’s description of the incident was different. Last week, in justifying his decision to ban the Twitter account @ElonJet for publishing the location of his private airplane, Musk said that a “stalker” had used location information from the account to follow and confront a car carrying one of his children.
The statement from South Pasadena police, though, contained no mention of a suspected stalker.
“At no time during the incident did the victim identify the suspect or indicate the altercation was anything more than coincidental,” police said.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the police statement.
In their statement, police said a 29-year-old man from Connecticut had pulled off a highway shortly before 10 p.m. to use his phone in a parking lot. While parked, the man said another vehicle pulled directly in front of him, blocking his path, according to police.
The driver of the second vehicle then accused the Connecticut man of following him, police said. Each party captured video during the dispute, they said.
Police said that as Musk’s security team member was leaving the parking lot in the second vehicle, he struck the Connecticut man with his vehicle.
“When the officer arrived on scene, the suspect had already left the area,” the statement said.
Detectives do not believe Musk was present during the confrontation, according to the statement.