Justin Bieber wants new laws in wake of photographer’s death
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Justin Bieber called for new legislation Wednesday after the death of a photographer who was hit by a car after photographing the star’s Ferrari.
Bieber becomes the latest in a string of celebrities to call for better protections against the actions of the paparazzi. But those laws have come under scrunity.
Last year, a Los Angeles Superior court judge threw out charges related to a first-of-its-kind anti-paparazzi law in the case of a freelance photographer who was charged in connection with a freeway chase involving Bieber.
Passed in 2010, the law punishes paparazzi driving dangerously to obtain images they will sell. But the judge said the law violated 1st Amendment protections by overreaching and potentially affecting such people as wedding photographers or photographers speeding to a location where a celebrity was present.
In that case, Bieber was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley and cited for driving his Fisker sports car at high speed. The pop star said then he was being chased by a freelance paparazzo.
In a statement released Wednesday, Bieber called Tuesday’s death of the photographer ‘tragic.’
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim,” the 18-year-old Bieber said. “Hopefully this tragedy will finally inspire meaningful legislation and whatever other necessary steps to protect the lives and safety of celebrities, police officers, innocent public bystanders and the photographers themselves.’
The incident took place on Sepulveda Boulevard near Getty Center Drive shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday. A friend of Bieber was driving the sports car when it was pulled over on the 405 Freeway by the California Highway Patrol for a traffic stop, according to LAPD Sgt. Rudy Lopez.
A CHP officer directed the driver of Bieber’s car off the freeway and onto Sepulveda.
The photographer arrived at the scene, got out of his car and crossed Sepulveda to take photos. He was hit by a car as he went back across the street to his own car, the sources said.
The sources said the photographer was not crossing in a crosswalk and the driver was fully cooperating with authorities.
-- Andrew Blankstein