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Kanye West charged in LAX paparazzi scuffle [UPDATED]

Updated, 11:25 a.m.: The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has filed criminal charges against Kanye West  and  Don Crawley. West, 31, has been charged with one count of vandalism, one count of grand theft and one count of battery. Crawley, 33, has been charged with two counts of vandalism, two counts of grand theft and two counts of battery. If convicted on all counts, West could face up to two years and six months in jail and Crawley could face up to five years in jail.

The pair are scheduled to be arraigned April 14 at the Los Angeles Airport courthouse.

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The Los Angeles city attorney is expected today to file three misdemeanor charges against rapper and producer Kanye West in connection with a scuffle with paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport.

The decision by city prosecutors to pursue several charges -- expected to be misdemeanor vandalism, battery and grand theft -- comes six months after the Los Angeles County district attorney's office declined to pursue felony charges.

Attorney Blair Berk, who is representing West, had no immediate comment on the city's decision to file criminal charges against her client and his road manager, Don Crawley. A spokesman for City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo had no immediate comment.

West and his road manager were arrested at LAX the morning of Sept. 11, 2008, on suspicion of felony vandalism after they confronted two paparazzi outside the passenger screening area in Terminal 4 and smashed the men's cameras, authorities said.

The confrontation escalated when a TMZ videographer and a still photographer from a paparazzi agency approached West and Crawley outside the terminal as they prepared to catch a commercial flight to Honolulu, officials said.

In video captured by a TMZ employee, West and Crawley are shown yelling at the paparazzi and struggling with the still photographer for his camera and its flash before slamming the equipment to the ground. As the TMZ videographer continued to shoot, Crawley appeared to grab at the video camera.

The confrontation was one in a string of incidents involving stars and aggressive photographers -- a situation that last year led both the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles Police Department to announce crackdowns on bad paparazzi behavior.

LAX, in particular, has grown in popularity as a hot spot for paparazzi who roam meet-and-greet areas of the terminals looking for easy targets.  But trouble has ensued with some of the bigger names.

Over the summer, Britney Spears was surrounded by 60 photographers who were pushing, shoving and knocking each other down to get a clear shot of the pop star after she arrived from Atlanta.

In the same week that West got into his scrape, a large contingent of paparazzi mobbed Jaime Lynn Spears, who had just given birth to a baby. The photographers were then left scrambling when a woman who looked like Spears, holding what they thought was a baby, took some of them in another direction while Spears made a clean getaway.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Video: TMZ

Comments () | Archives (14)

Paparazzi's are gettin out of hand. They need to give Celeb's their space or at least get persmission, who knows what kind of mood their in. We all have our bad days

Kanye West? Chris Brown?

When are these black 'superstars' going to quit acting like children.

I don't and have never paid any attention to them or whatever they do.

I hope advertisers get smart and put these folks back in the ghetto where they obviously belong.


Glad they stood up for themselves against the paparazzi! There really needs to be more privacy laws set in place to protect people against those ANNOYING paparazzi! (I mean, just look at Princess Diana...those nosey idiots killed her! Get rid of the paparazzi!!)

Kanye's ego has finally catches up with him. Let him do the jail time. He's lucky he isn't being charged for assault on an audience for his "performances", which should get him a life sentence.

The blame for this should be at the feet of the city. You don't see pap incidents in NYC because the cops there don't put up with it. But in LA it seems as if they can do whatever they want, it's only a matter of time before some gets seriously hurt but cause of the panic these papz creat.

I really don't blame Kanye. The photographers are not nice and polite, they are in their own rat race to get embarrassing or compromising photos. So they have every incentive to taunt a celebrity to provoke a reaction. And for the celebrity--this guy is going to make $100,000 dollars off their image. You shouldn't hit them, but I think smashing their cameras is ok in this context.

Make him serve the time...Make a example out of him. You step out of line you WILL be checked...no special treatment.

Why can't we all get along?

About time, karma for that crappy performance at Bonnarro

O.J. got off on a double homicide. Kanye might get a key to the city for this little outburst.

i'm on kanye's side here. if you get in the way, expect to get knocked down.

The question is how do the photographers know where the celebrities are going to be? The answer is that the celebrities and their own teams tip off the paparazzi so they can get into the press.

Paparazzi are pigs. They should be outlawed. How long would you put up with someone constantly sticking a camera in your face?

It would be interesting to find out how many strings Harvey from TMZ had to pull to get these charges, which were initially dropped due to common sense, to be reinstated and enhanced.

It's incredible to think that, after so many decades of paparazzi harassing citizens, there still aren't any laws in place to prevent these kinds of incidents. If Los Angles *coughTMZ* wins this case, expect the paparazzi to gain even more power. At this rate they may even gain enough protection to break into people's homes for the next 'big scoop'.


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