- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
Justin Bieber: Teenage heartthrob calls for tough rules after paparazzo’s death
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 29-year-old photographer had just snapped shots of Justin Bieber’s exotic white Ferrari when he was struck and killed by a passing car — a death that has spurred renewed debate over dangers paparazzi can bring on themselves and the celebrities they chase.
The accident prompted some stars, including the teen heartthrob himself, on Wednesday to renew their calls for tougher laws to rein in their pursuers, though previous urgings have been stymied by First Amendment protections.
In a statement, Mr. Bieber said his prayers were with the photographer’s family. Ironically, the singer wasn’t even in the Ferrari on Tuesday.
“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,” Mr. Bieber said in the statement released by Island Def Jam Music Group.
Much of Hollywood was abuzz about the death, including Miley Cyrus, who sent several tweets critical of some of the actions of paparazzi and lamenting that the unfortunate accident was “bound to happen.”
Paparazzi roaming the streets of Southern California have been commonplace for more than a decade as the shutterbugs looked to land exclusive shots that can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Industry veterans recalled incidents where paparazzi chasing celebrities have been injured, but they couldn’t remember a photographer being killed while working.
Mr. Harrison is familiar with the backlash against paparazzi. He and another photographer were convicted of misdemeanor false imprisonment and sentenced to jail for boxing in Arnold Schwarzenegger and his family as they sat in their Hummer in 1998.
Citing that incident and the death of Princess Diana, the state Legislature passed its first anti-paparazzi measure a year later. It created hefty civil penalties that could be paid to stars whose privacy was invaded.
Six months ago, a paparazzo was charged with reckless driving in a high-speed pursuit of Mr. Bieber and with violating a separate 2010 state law that toughened punishment for those who drive dangerously in pursuit of photos for commercial gain.
However, a judge last month dismissed the paparazzi law charges, saying the law was overly broad.
The judge cited problems with the statute, saying it was aimed at newsgathering activities protected by the First Amendment and lawmakers should have increased penalties for reckless driving rather than target those who photograph celebrities.
City prosecutors said they would appeal the judge’s ruling.
The law was prompted by the experiences of Jennifer Aniston, who provided details to a lawmaker about being unable to drive away after she was surrounded by paparazzi on the Pacific Coast Highway.
On Tuesday, a friend of Mr. Bieber’s was behind the wheel of the Ferrari when a California Highway Patrol officer pulled it over for speeding along Interstate 405, authorities said.
“This photographer evidently had been following the white Ferrari,” and when it was pulled over after sundown, he stopped, parked and crossed the street to snap photos, Los Angeles police Detective Charles Walton said.
The photographer stood on a low freeway railing to shoot photographs of the traffic stop over a chain-link fence, authorities said.
“The CHP officer told him numerous times that it wasn’t safe for him to be there and to return to his vehicle,” Detective Walton said.
There were no sidewalks or pedestrian crossings along the street where the photographer had parked, so the driver of the car that struck him had no reason to expect a pedestrian, Detective Walton said of the accident.
“It would have been very difficult for her to see him,” the detective said.
It wasn’t immediately clear how fast the motorist, a 69-year-old woman, was traveling, but she was not believed to be at fault and was unlikely to be cited, police said.
Mr. Harrison said he routinely tells his photographers to be safe when they are working.
“In any job you have to exercise a degree of common sense and caution,” he said.
Mr. Harrison hopes celebrities and paparazzi examine their actions to ensure a similar event doesn’t happen again. No photo is worth someone’s life, he said.
“Everybody wants to be the first one to get that shot, get that scoop,” Mr. Harrison said, “but at the end of the day, you can’t spend money if you are dead.”
• Associated Press writer Robert Jablon contributed to this article.
An unlikely conservative hero could emerge from the budget cave
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow