Paparazzi Ordinance, 1st Ld
Date: 04-08-2008 3:29 PM - Word Count: 397

Paparazzi Ordinance, 1st Ld
Report: Paparazzi Ordinance Would Be Unenforceable
Eds: ADDS report presented, quote from commission meeting.
City News Service

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An ordinance aimed at protecting celebrities from aggressive paparazzi by creating a ``personal safety zone'' would be ambiguous and difficult to enforce, police Chief William Bratton said in a report presented today to the Police Commission.

Councilman Dennis Zine called for tighter controls on the paparazzi after the Los Angeles Police Department spent $25,000 earlier this year to transport Britney Spears from her Studio City home to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood.

The police escort was needed to prevent photographers from documenting the pop star's hospitalization, the LAPD said at the time.

Bratton's report found that Zine's proposal to regulate the distance between photographers and their subjects would ``create an inequitable and ambiguous code that would likely be unenforceable.''

The proposed ordinance also raises questions as to who is classified as a ``celebrity'' or ``paparazzo,'' whether the LAPD is showing favoritism toward celebrities and whether the general public is entitled to the same protection, Bratton said.

The councilman called Bratton's report premature, noting that the City Council's Public Safety Committee has not yet heard the issue and the proposal has not been vetted by the City Attorney's Office.

``This doesn't stop me or tell me that the matter is resolved,'' Zine said.

In the report, Bratton pointed out that there are already laws, such as jaywalking, speeding and battery, that officers can use to regulate unruly photographers.

``Vigilant enforcement of these laws should deter paparazzi from creating circumstances that potentially endanger the life of the subjects being photographed and/or the surrounding community,'' Bratton wrote in the report.

Cmdr. Kirk Albanese said other cities do not have specialized paparazzi laws.

``The city of Beverly Hills, who also as one can imagine deals with this issue, does not have special statutes for it, nor does Las Vegas,'' Albanese said.

``The department believes we are best served by those existing laws that are at our disposal to deal with these situations.''

Those laws do not go far enough, Zine said.

``We need specific sections dealing with the paparazzi,'' he said.

``What do we do the next time Britney Spears has to go to the hospital? Do we spend another $25,000 and (deploy) those police resources that are stretched so far?''

CNS-04-08-2008 15:29