Kanye West charged with battery in LAX fight with photographer
Rapper Kanye West was charged Friday with battery and attempted grand theft in connection with a July paparazzi clash at Los Angeles International Airport, city prosecutors said.
West, 36, faces up to six months in jail for each misdemeanor charge, Los Angeles city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said. The case will go before a judge Oct. 10 in L.A. County Superior Court.
West, who has long maintained a hostile stance toward paparazzi and even rapped about his contempt for the media, was captured on video July 19 wrestling video photographer Danny Ramos to the ground.
The video, obtained by TMZ, showed West leaving the airport and heading toward a waiting car. He then stops and appears to get into an argument with one of the numerous photographers on scene, putting the man in a headlock and forcing him to the ground.
Though a camera is between the two, West’s lawyer told authorities the video shows the entertainer never grabbed it. The singer’s lawyer has insisted West was simply trying to stop the photographer from taking a picture.
After reviewing the incident, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file felony assault and attempted-robbery charges, and instead referred the issue to the city attorney.
In papers from the district attorney’s office on the matter, Deputy Dist. Atty. Amy-Hannah Broersma wrote that West had “attacked a freelance photographer,” who was subsequently treated for cuts and muscle strain at Marina del Rey Hospital.
She wrote that the case was declined after investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department‘s Robbery-Homicide Division presented its findings in the matter and a video of the incident was reviewed.
The prosecutor said an attempted-robbery charge was declined because there was insufficient evidence of any “specific intent.” She added that felony assault charges were rejected because the victim did not sustain significant injuries.
The prosecutor noted the photographer’s camera was not booked into evidence and so “it is unknown whether it was damaged, therefore vandalism charges were not considered.”
Last month, attorney Gloria Allred sued West on behalf of the photographer, blasted other celebrities who defended the rapper’s behavior. In the lawsuit, Ramos alleges assault, battery, negligence and violation of civil rights.
Ramos later told reporters he was in “complete shock” during the altercation.
“All I had done was ask him a question. I was was terrified when Kanye started to come at me,” he said. “I backed up because I felt from the look in his eyes, he was going to attack me.”
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