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Harrelson Chokes TMZ Photog

LAPD Investigates

6/30/2006 5:46 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Woody Harrelson choked TMZ cameraman Josh Levine late Thursday night as he left a Hollywood nightclub, and the LAPD is conducting a criminal investigation.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m. outside Element, a club frequented by celebrities. As Harrelson left with three women and two men, Levine and other photogs began shooting. Harrelson became irritated and asked Levine to stop shooting. Harrelson then walked over to Levine, put his hand on the camera and asked Levine to stop. Levine said "All I'm doing is my job." Harrelson, who appears in "A Prairie Home Companion," then said, "I've asked you to stop, are you going to stop?" and Levine replied, "Not when you ask me like that." The video then shows Harrelson break the camera and the picture goes dead.

TMZ obtained a second video, shot by another photog, showing the altercation. The photographer began shooting just as Harrelson grabbed Levine's neck.There is no audio in this portion of the tape.

After the incident, Levine was visibly agitated and argued with a man who appeared to be Harrelson's security guard. Then Levine flagged down an LAPD patrol car and told the two officers inside, "Hey bro, I just got assaulted by Woody Harrelson. He choked me out right now." A man standing near Levine added, "Yeah, I'm a witness." The police did not acknowledge Levine and simply drove away.


Harrelson's publicist, Ina Treciokas, told TMZ: "Unfortunately, this is not the first or last time the paparazzi have provoked an incident with a celebrity. Mr. Harrelson is evaluating all of his legal options against the photographer."

Levine went to LAPD's Hollywood division and filed a criminal complaint against Harrelson. The police have Levine's tape as evidence, and TMZ has given the LAPD a copy of the second tape. Levine, who suffered neck lacerations, was then taken by two officers to Cedars Sinai emergency room, where he was examined and released.

Josh Levine

LAPD Detective John Padilla told TMZ the investigation is ongoing and "We're going to present it to the D.A.'s office" as early as today. Padilla added, "With the tapes and all, it's pretty good evidence." Padilla said vandalism and assault and battery charges could be filed against Harrelson.


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Wow! check this out it looks like his Woody harrelsons son is just as crazy. Like father like son.


3001 days ago

NICK time.....beat the f*cking shit out of him.....that little bitch went to Ceder Sinai for a scratch.......Woody asked him nicly...and this f*uck is trained to provoke the inncidents like this do happen...and they can promote there site more....and the LAPD.....i can not put into words how screwed up i think u are.....going afer donuts rather then helping somone out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BITCHeS

2998 days ago


what a creep Woody is!!!!!! He signed p for this celebrity business! poor photog:(
And the LAPD.....?!?!?!?!?!?!? clearly they don't work THAT hard! I am appalled! Adam Levine should sue Woody and the LAPD!

3036 days ago


These camerman will anything to make money. From selling pictures, to making celebrities so mad to choke them or knock them the hell out. And then they sue.

3036 days ago

Carol Ann    

I wonder what will happen to the police officer who drove off. I can't imagine how upset Woody must have been to actually grab a photographer by the neck.

3036 days ago


It works both way - celebs have to put up with a certain amount of news media - it goes with the job - but news media and paparazzi need to learn to professionals and give celebs some respect - and when asked to stop photographing - they should stop - however, physical violence never solves anything - so Woody owes the man a new camera and an apology - the the photog needs to grow a brain and some manners and when asked to stop doing something - show some respect and stop! However, LA PD - s'cuse me but these guys caught a crime on tape - what was going on that they couldn't stop - a big sale at Krispy Kreme?!

3036 days ago


AOL, this is very disappointing. I mean, I guess with all the bad PR you have to keep customers somehow. It's rather pathetic how this story seems to stress the point that the lowlife cameraman is the victim. I hope this the real victim, Woody, takes action against the agency, and hopefully the "privacy invasion" law against paparrazzi is carried out sooner than later.

3036 days ago


That's bull shit if someone was in my face and I told them to leave me alone and they didn't , I would beat the shit out of them too. Also, nobody should feel sorry that the guy, he has a little cut on his neck but he got a huge pay check.

3036 days ago


Yo, I love Woody man he seems like a down to earth dude which he never acts like a stara**hole. What he did was wrong but I think every start should get 1 freak out within their career but after that then all bets are off cause they signed up for the gig and to get paid all that money this is the bullsh*t you have to deal with. But now the cops on the other hand that's a different story, should be fired for really real. . . They have no right to act that way at no time.

3036 days ago


WOW! Well Woody did ask the man to stop filming. the photog should have backed off, he obviously bated Woody. So yeah I would have done the same thing.

Jail or no jail. If I were this Photog I would worry that the evidence showed him provoking Woody.

3036 days ago


Woody should not have assaulted him, but until laws are passed to protect celebrities from this kind of constant heckling, it will continue.

I LOVE THE FACT that every one of these clips comes with a "COME TO!" logo. Screw them for playing this up to make money.

TMZ, even though I have never heard of them before, will never be visited by me for this very photographer.

What an idiot. I am more on Woody's side than this dick with a camera filming someone walk down the street, AND CONTINUES to be a jerk after Woody asked him nicely about 3 times to stop.

3036 days ago

trish makepeace    

i am sorry for Woody...give them privacy, acting is a job

3036 days ago


i agree..

just because your famous does not mean you have to be followed and filmed

woody you rock my world!

i would have kicked that guys asssss too..


3036 days ago



3036 days ago


Well, it's ain't gonna be ptreety for Woody in this one, honestly. Few courts take provocation into account -- no matter how extreme -- when assault occurs. (Although, good Lord, how much can you expect a person to take before they snap?) And, to Woody, keep a j on hand whenever there's papparazzi about. It seems like it takes all the mellow one can get to live in the same town as photo hounds.

3036 days ago
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