Plan to crack down on aggressive paparazzi

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES In their relentless pursuit of celebrity photos, members of the paparazzi swarm cars, speed, and even stop traffic. Now there's an effort to clamp down on their aggressive behavior.

Los Angles City Councilman Dennis Zine says the paparazzi sometimes behaves like a pact of wolves and something needs to be done. He has proposed creating a 'personal safety zone' between photographers and their famous targets.

"I think we can all agree that the behavior of the paparazzi is out of control and needs to be reigned in before someone gets seriously injured or killed," said Councilman Zine.

Councilman Zine 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.

"The safety zone is six feet, I think it's completely unenforceable," said celebrity photographer Nick Stern. "Unless every celebrity has a chaperone or a police officer with a six-feet tape measure, who are you going to enforce it?"

Zine has formed a special task force that includes Sheriff Lee Baca, city officials, and actors. They all gathered at City Hall for a hearing Thursday morning.

"I have felt violated, I wouldn't call it threatened because I don't feel threatened," said actor Eric Roberts. "It's all part of the package and if you can't deal with it be a plumber. But I have felt violated certainly, many times."

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.

LAPD Chief William Bratton disagrees with Zine's proposal. He says there's no need for additional laws to control aggressive photographers.

"There's more than sufficient laws on the books that deal with it," said Chief Bratton. "Give us a call, we'll come in and deal with it. But again I have no intention of supporting any additional rules, regulations, or laws. 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."

Councilman Zine says he hopes to come out of the hearing with some concrete suggestions on how to deal with the paparazzi.


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