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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-levine-attack

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.

517 COMMENTS

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16.

Tyler    

I mean I have hated taking pictures since I was a child. . . I don't even understand it myself. My school year books have years of no me but even I don't understand why people that get paid 2 be infront of a camera, why it pisses them off when some one is shooting them with a camera? Can someone explain this 2 me please? I mean it's one thing if they are like inches from your face which in 90% of the cases this is not the case so stick to like this situation cause if I ever make it big I wouldn't give a f*ck about it, as long as the checks kept coming.

2851 days ago
17.

Rick    

Maybe .......Being trapped,harassed, by a**hole paparazzi like the one TMZ has is the price celeb. must pay, I guess!?!?!? BUT, TMZ paparazzi should try to be a man and except butt kicking as part of his job as well.

Right on Woody !!!!!!!!

2851 days ago
18.

marsha postel    

When someone asks you to stop and you dont.... You get what ever happens to you. Job or no job. He should have stopped when Woody asked him.

2851 days ago
19.

Randy    

Woody gets a check for public appearances and things like that. If the guy wants to video let him get Woody's permission and then give him a cut of the pay. Otherwise let Woody stomp him for stalking.

2851 days ago
20.

The Big Man NYC    

HEY RON HARMON (COMMENT 22)

I can't believe you are bringing religion into this - I have been to lots of celeb events and the creepy photogs come from all religions, races and colors. it's obvious your view of the world is sadly childlike and prehistoric. You are just as bad as the photographers you moron!

2851 days ago
21.

Withilca    

He asked him to please leave him alone. "Come on man give me a break"
The camera man was in the wrong and invoked the confrontation.
Instead of harrassing people, why doesn't TMZ.com fix their web site so the pages don't over lap and look like crap.

Your site is a joke!!!

2851 days ago
22.

Clarissa Parker    

You know I saw a link and clicked here. Harvey Levin and TMZ are actually the worst. THey have no scruples.

My interest in this site is over

2851 days ago
23.

J Reclude    

I think that little pest didn't get choked enough, the marks don't look all that bad. And if that is the only way the guy can make money, he should learn a creative trade or something that isn't so parasitic, constantly swarming around certain people so much like a simple, squashable insect. Here's hoping that he gets his little ass beat hardcore the next time he invades someone's space. And he had the nerve not to respect him when he tried to calm down and ask him not to film. I bet he will get a big payday in court for all the footage.

2851 days ago
24.

Jimmy Riddle    

Priceless Moment of the Week: Clueless Paparazzo. Can you please rename this story! I think this overatkes missing Justin at the airport.

Why is it that a TMZ employed person is a "Photographer" and anyone else hounding a celebrity is a paparazzo?

Good job on getting your guy to hound Harrelson to breaking point. That is the only way to get a news story out of a has been. Keep up the good work.

2851 days ago
25.

homegre    

Ask Princess Di about those slimmy photo whores. I don't blame Woody or others who "just can't take it anymore".

2851 days ago
26.

ken    

Warner Brothers Owned TMZ is exploiting both sides of the fence here. They have paid Harrelson Millions, then pay a stalker $10,000. for cheap street boy video.
Pathetic

2851 days ago
27.

zak    

Great Woody, now see if you can go swomewhere and quietly strangle yourself. why would anyone want to take ap picture of you anyway?

2851 days ago
28.

Ed    

Woody was very kind and the photog had an attitude. Good work Woody hope it happens every time one of these jerks think they rule the world. When some respectfully asks it should be done. He already had more than enough footage.

2851 days ago
29.

Dave    

The photographer was obnoxious and wouldn't take no for an answer, even after Woody said please and asked him to stop. The jerk got what he deserved.

And TMZ...you are scum. Making money off exploiting celebrities. I feel dirty for even adding to your sleazy website.

2851 days ago
30.

Alex    

Leave it to and over paid cop to just drive away I THINK IM PARKED IN THE RED ZONE

2851 days ago
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