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Tyson, paparazzo arrested after scuffle

November 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Boxer Mike Tyson and a photographer were arrested after a scuffle at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday.Tyson and the paparazzo, identified as 50-year-old Tony Echevarria, were both booked and released on charges of misdemeanor battery. Airport police said there are witness statements to support both sides of the story.

Airport police spokesman Sgt. Jim Holcomb says the incident happened at about 4:30 p.m. at the United Airlines ticket counter in Terminal 7.

Tyson's spokeswoman Tammy Brook says the boxer was traveling with his wife and 10-month-old child back to Las Vegas when he was attacked by an overly aggressive paparazzo. Brook says Tyson acted in self-defense to protect his child.

Police said Tyson was cooperative while he was held at a police substation at the airport. He was released on his own recognizance Wednesday night.

Echevarria told airport police that Tyson hit him once, causing him to fall down, and he suffered a cut to his forehead. The photographer was transported to a local hospital and arrested after being released from the hospital. He was then also released on his own recognizance.

Investigators are looking to see if there is any surveillance video of the altercation.

"If there's one thing I know about Tony, he's definitely a reasonable man," says celebrity journalist Garry Sun, a friend of Echevarria.

"It gets a little crazy out there, but he's never been one to start a physical altercation with a celebrity or any other photographer for that matter," Sun added.

Tyson's attorney said people were following the boxer into the men's room, and said he would advise Tyson to press charges against the paparazzo.

Celebrity altercations with the paparazzi are nothing new at LAX. Last year, singer Kanye West had a confrontation that was captured by photographers from TMZ.com. West recently settled the case, and the charges were dropped.

California has a new law as of two weeks ago to crack down on media outlets that publish photos taken illegally. Fines of up to $50,000 are possible.

L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine tried to get a city ordinance passed earlier this year to give celebrities a personal safety zone of a couple feet between them and paparazzi. The LAPD did not support that proposal, saying there were other laws on the books.

Tyson became heavy weight champion in 1986 and was considered one of the best fighters in the world. However, he's endured several run-ins with the law including allegations of domestic abuse and a rape conviction.

Earlier this year, Tyson scored a hit playing himself in the smash comedy, "The Hangover," but it was short-lived.

In May, his 4-year-old daughter was killed in a tragic accident.

Echevarria will be in court on Dec. 4. A court date has not been set for Tyson yet.


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