Justin Bieber Car Chase May Lead to First Anti-Paparazzi Case
After Justin Bieber was given a speeding ticket for driving over 80 mph in a 65 mph zone while being chased by a photographer, the Los Angeles city attorney's office is considering whether to file its first case under a 2010 anti-paparazzi law, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The relatively new law was enacted to crack down on not just photographers driving recklessly to snap a photo of a celebrity, but also those who block off sidewalks and create the sense of "false imprisonment." Photographers who go too far could face high fines or even jail time.
While Bieber was slapped with a ticket, the photographer initially got away, though police were later to identify him later through his license plate. The chase was reported by L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, who said he understands the problems paparazzi sometimes cause for celebrities, but noted that doesn't excuse unsafe driving.
"Any time you do 90, the paparazzi are going to go 90," said Zine. "He was going from the fast lane to the slow lane to the shoulder in traffic. It was a very dangerous driving situation. I figured someone was going to crash, so I called 911."
The controversial paparazzi law was signed in 2010 by then-governor Arnold Schwarznegger, who argued that laws already existed for reckless driving against strong opposition from news organizations. At the time, Assemblywoman Karen Bass, who sponsored the bill, said: "Some artists fear there is going to be a terrible accident . . . This is certainly no attempt to regulate the press."
Earlier this week Bieber was hit by a $9 million lawsuit from an Oregon woman who claimed a July 2010 concert left her with permanently damaged hearing.