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Paparazzi chasing Britney Spears arrested

January 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Four paparazzi trying to photograph Britney Spears have been arrested by Los Angeles police officers.It was around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night when Britney Spears was driving through Mission Hills. She wasn't alone -- a swarm of paparazzi was in hot pursuit.

But LAPD says their driving crossed the line -- literally and figuratively. It landed a handful of them in jail overnight.

It's a scene you don't see very often: Britney Spears pulled over by police, but not the one in trouble. LAPD officers instead busting the paparazzi. Four of them were booked into custody for reckless driving.

LAPD says the officers were on standard patrol when they noticed the photographers chasing the pop star's Mercedes, making unsafe lane changes and driving at unsafe speeds. All this was caught on tape by another paparazzi team.

"This is out of control with the paparazzi that violate all the rules, and think the law doesn't apply to them," said L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine. "And someone is going to get hurt."

Zine isn't just a L.A. city councilman, he's also a former LAPD motor officer. That means he's seen more than his share of lens-toting paparazzi chasing down celebrities. Zine says the swarms of cameras aren't just growing bigger, but they're getting more aggressive and creating dangerous situations. A few weeks ago, Spears bumped a photographer with her car.

Zine says it's just a matter of time before the dangerous driving of some paparazzi ends in a death, and he points to Princess Diana as an example.

"Look what happened in that tragedy. Do your job, but do it in a responsible fashion," said Zine. "Don't jeopardize other people -- pedestrians, other motorists -- that are on the highway."

But there's always that thirst for celebrity scandal -- a thirst that drives photo prices well into the thousands and encourages photographers to take more and more risks.

Zine hopes expensive arrests like this one will remove some of the incentive and take some of the gloss off those photos.

Zine says his office is working on legislation that would crack down on paparazzi. In the meantime, he says he hopes the judge will throw the book at the four guys busted Wednesday night and send a message to other paparazzi who think they can break the law.


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