Justin Bieber’s chase by paparazzi may be the first case filed in California under a new anti-paparazzi law. The new California law was devised to crack down on celebrity photographers, a.k.a. paparazzi, who “drive recklessly in pursuit” of famous people to garner photographs and videos. The anti-paparazzi law also makes it illegal to block sidewalks and create a “sense of false imprisonment” the Los Angeles Time reports. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office will reportedly make a decision abut the appropriateness of filing anti-paparazzi charges against the photographer who allegedly chased Justin Bieber in the coming days.
Justin Bieber was recently cited for speeding on the Los Angeles freeway while attempting to avoid a group of paparazzi. Bieber filed a complaint against the photographer which the singer considered most aggressive during the alleged highway chase. The Los Angeles city attorney could have chosen to ignore Bieber’s complaint or charged the photographer with offenses unrelated to the new anti-paparazzi law.
The new paparazzi law has generated a bit of controversy, even though it has not yet been tested in court. Media organizations “strongly objected” to the anti-paparazzi statute when former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the legislation into law, according to the Huffington Post. Like Justin Bieber, Gov. Schwarzenegger was himself a frequent target of celebrity photogs. Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich helped create the law, which was sponsored by Democratic California Assemblywoman Karen Bass.
If convicted for harassing Justin Bieber while allegedly chasing him down the Los Angeles freeway, the photographer could face stiff fines and even jail time. Before the California Highway Patrol (CHP) ticketed Justin Bieber for going in excess of 80 mph, City Councilman Denns Zine called 911 to report the incident. Zine also noticed the paparazzi tailing Bieber, but publicly stated being chased by photographers was no excuse for driving in an unsafe manner. Zine went so far as to call for the arrest of Justin Bieber, feeling the teen driver endangered the lives of others while allegedly zigging and zagging through traffic at high rates of speed to avoid the paparazzi.
“Any time you do 90, the paparazzi are going to go 90. He (Justin Bieber) 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,” Councilman Zine told the Los Angeles Times.