Justin Bieber calls photographer's death 'tragic'
Justin Bieber called the death of a photographer who was hit by a car after photographing the star's Ferrari on Tuesday a "tragic accident."
“While I was not present nor directly involved with this tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim,” Bieber said in a statement released by his spokesperson. “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.
The paparazzi have tracked the driving habits of Bieber, 18, and the Los Angeles city attorney's office has been unsuccessful in its attempt to use a novel state law to limit their pursuits.
Judge Thomas Rubinson ruled in November the state law did not pass constitutional muster in a case against Paul Raef, a photographer who sped on the 101 Freeway last year to capture Bieber receiving a traffic citation.
Passed in 2010, the law punishes paparazzi driving dangerously to obtain images they intend to sell. But Rubinson said the law violated 1st Amendment protections, potentially affecting wedding photographers or those speeding to events where celebrities are present.
-- Andrew Blankstein