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Paparazzo in Justin Bieber pursuit may face charges

July 17, 2012 |  3:06 pm

Justin Bieber

A photographer pursuing Justin Bieber in a recent high-speed chase on the 101 Freeway may be charged criminally, L.A. city prosecutors said Tuesday.

Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the L.A. city attorney's office, said prosecutors have received an investigation report from the California Highway Patrol identifying a photographer who pursued Bieber on July 6, the day the pop singer was ticketed for speeding.

According to a source, the CHP report suggests prosecutors consider a misdemeanor charge against the photographer, who fled the scene near the Cahuenga Pass but whose license plate was recorded by officers.

L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, who was among those calling 911 to report the chase involving Bieber's high-priced chrome Fisker sports car, said that as a former traffic officer he would have arrested Bieber and his pursuers for reckless driving.

Zine said he saw Bieber cut from the fast lane to the slow lane and even onto the shoulder. He was being pursued by several cars.

"It was like slot cars, they were going so fast," Zine said. "It was a very dangerous driving situation. I figured someone was going to crash, so I called 911."

Zine said he did not know Bieber was involved until later.

CHP officers stopped and cited Bieber for reckless driving but also saw at least one car pursuing the singer, CHP Officer Ming Hsu said.

In 2010, California lawmakers stiffened penalties for paparazzi caught driving recklessly to photograph celebrities.

But Zine said that being chased by paparazzi is not a reason for Bieber to speed or drive in a way that endangers himself or others.

"Anytime you do 90 [mph], the paparazzi are going to go 90," Zine said.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Justin Bieber catches some air while performing at the Nokia Theatre on July 17, 2010. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times