July 31, 2008

Plan to crack down on aggressive paparazzi

A hearing will be held Thursday to decide what steps can be taken to reduce or penalize aggressive paparazzi.

Celebrities, law enforcement officials and city leaders are expected at L.A. City Hall for the hearing led by City Councilman Dennis Zine.

Members of the paparazzi follow stars, jump in front of cars and hide in bushes to get pictures of the rich and famous. Now there's an effort to clamp down on their aggressive behavior.

Councilman Zine wants a paparazzi task force to create a personal safety zone between the aggressive photographers and their celebrity targets. He proposed the ordinance after the Los Angeles Police Department spent $25,000 to transport Britney Spears from her Studio City home to UCLA Medical Center earlier this year.

Just last month there was a violent clash between surfers and paparazzi in Malibu when photographers tried to get pictures of actor Matthew McConaughey at the beach. Malibu is also trying to create a proposal to regulate unruly photographers, perhaps by creating a buffer zone.

But LAPD Chief William Bratton says the proposal is unnecessary.

"I have no intention of supporting any additional rules, regulations, or laws," said Bratton. "We have enough in this city without piling more on in terms of for one-time incidents. Sorry this thing doesn't rise to the need for that."

"I think the chief should listen to the concerns of the community, listen to the concerns of the celebrities, listen to what issues could be resolved," said Zine. "We have laws on the books, we're not denying that. And I have 40 years of service with the Los Angeles Police Department, I know there's laws. The problem is those laws are not working."

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