Pop star Justin Bieber spoke out Wednesday about criticism of his recent behavior, without addressing an ongoing police investigation into his alleged confrontation with a neighbor.
"I'm young and I make mistakes," Bieber, 19, told Us Weekly, after the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed it was investigating a complaint filed against him Tuesday morning. "That's part of growing up," Bieber said. "I mess up sometimes. It's part of growing up."
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told the Los Angeles Times that a neighbor in the affluent Calabasas suburb "complained Mr. Bieber spit on him and made some threats. Mr. Bieber's people say that it did not happen. Obviously, our detectives will determine what happened and take appropriate action."
He specified in a news briefing, "Right now it's a misdemeanor simple battery, which . . . is unwanted touching. It could be anything from grazing an elbow, patting on the back, it could be spitting."
TMZ.com, which first reported the incident, said Bieber was racing his Ferrari through the streets of the gated community The Oaks and was confronted on his property by a neighbor angry over the noise and the reckless driving. The site said Bieber told the man to leave and that security escorted the neighbor away.
"My husband went up to him to have a civil conversation. But apparently Justin Bieber had a hard time being told to slow down," the neighbor's wife told TV station KTLA.
She said the singer "is just being a punk. He needs to know he's not invincible and he can't continue to be surrounded by enablers."