The Los Angeles Police Department is continuing its crackdown against celebrity photographers by arresting two photographers Monday who were standing on city-owned property waiting to photograph Britney Spears.
The surprising part is not that another two photographers was arrested for practicing their First Amendment rights. That, we know, occurs almost on a daily basis.
The surprising part is that Britney Spears did not flash the photographers her crotch before the arrest.
The photographers, Alexandre Passos and Eduardo Ravalha, were booked on loitering charges.
Under California penal code 555.2, “it is unlawful to loiter in the immediate vicinity of any posted property”.
However, any signs that had been posted in the area had been removed.
Police said they were called to the same area two weeks ago because of a similar report involving the paparazzi, Malachi said. At that time, authorities noted that signs warning people to stay off the property had been removed.
So it appears that the photographers have a good argument to get their case dropped. Or do they?
Monday’s arrest was only the latest in a series of arrests this year against celebrity photographers in Los Angeles.
In February, the LAPD arrested four paparazzi on suspicion of reckless driving as they followed Spears on a San Fernando Valley street. Police alleged that at least one of the photographers tried to run her off the road.
That same month, in separate incidents, four paparazzi were booked on charges arising from blocking sidewalks in West Hollywood.
Malibu officials have even gone as far as recruiting attorney Kenneth Starr, who you may remember spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars trying to prove that Bill Clinton cheated on his wife.
Malibu officials are getting advice from Kenneth Starr, the attorney whose investigation of former President Bill Clinton led to the uncovering of his sexual liaison with Monica Lewinsky and caused his impeachment. Starr is dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu.
Earlier this year in nearby Los Angeles, City Councilman Dennis Zine proposed restrictions on the paparazzi, suggesting they be kept several feet away from stars they photograph.
“It’s becoming more combative where people are saying they’ve had enough with these people,” Zine said.
“Right now, you have no laws that really apply. You have a chaotic situation that keeps on getting worse,” he said.