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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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61.

lala    

By watching the video, it doesn't look like that injury happened by woody putting his fingers around photog's neck. Unless of course he had a cigarette attached to one of them...

the guy was annoying and the LAPD have more to worry about like the 13th street gang in Hollywood.

3001 days ago
62.

Larry    

Woody was baited. pure and simple and in a gentlemanly fashion nicely, several times asked the idiot photgrapher to stop. Though he probably should have let his body guard do the bidding, Woody was well with in bounds when stopping this guy. When the tapes are shown in court, if it gets that far,let's hope a judge with a brain between his ears listens to how nicely Woody asked before forcing this issue. Famous or not no one should be hounded by a photographer.

3001 days ago
63.

Kirk-Montreal    

Hey Harrelson!! I would love to kick your scrawny no talent ass anytime, you dope smoking loser...I hope the photographer sues your sorry ass and gets a huge settlement out of you....IDIOT!
I am sick of hearing about celebrities attacking people ...if people were attacking celebrities there would be total hell to pay, but these no talent actors YEAH YOU WOODY! think they can get away with anything.....it is only a matter of time before Woody ends up like his murdering loser dad....

3001 days ago
64.

Valerie    

Woody H was wrong to choke the boy. However, i don't believe Woody left that scratch on his neck... why can't i see it after he tries to unsuccessfully hail down a cop?

3001 days ago
65.

doug    

wow..i thought TMZ was an automated response system.....hmmm...my mouse is looking at me funny!....choke! die!

3001 days ago
66.

Dr Bob    

Sorry ,but Woody's the A**hole here. Yes it's very annoying beeing a celebrity hounded by Paparrazi. But this isnt a stalker, he's a photographer who gets PAID for pictures of celebrities! Please remember, Woody is on a PUBLIC SIDEWALK. Celebrities forfit all rights of privacy when they are on a public property. Cmon, be real. This guy wasn't in his face with the Camera. Woody knows when he's out in public he's fair game and should at least DEAL with that fact even if he doesn't agree or respect it. Stupid and expensive move on his part. This guy is gonna cry all the way to the Bank. He was better off ignoring him. Woody's been around a long time.
He knows better.

3001 days ago
67.

J R    

What did Levine expect would happen? How much do these guys think they can harrass celebrities before they get their asses kicked? From what I've seen, a lot of these situations are setups, and then the photogs cry when the celebrity has had enough of being stalked.

3001 days ago
68.

RiSE    

Alls woody had to do was keep walking and ignore them! Once you touch somebody its a diffrent story. Woody is at fault here. Just because he doesnt want his picture taken doesnt give him the right to touch somebody else. I dont like people that are rude in stores, but i dont grab them by the neck.

3001 days ago
69.

MrP    

The LAPD did nothing wrong, when someone flags your car down and then makes a wild claim like woody harrelson assaulted me, youd have to think that it was a prank and more serious matters should be taken care of.

3001 days ago
70.

'spud'    

Anger management classes, anyone??

3001 days ago
71.

BigToe    

Hey Levine,

Get a real job! Slacker.

3001 days ago
72.

Kathy    

I was shocked TMZ allowed RON HARMAN to air his anti-semitism so blatantly. You guy won't allow "profanity" however, Mr. Harmon gets to be insulting to Jewish people without so much as a simple letter deleted, what's up with that? That's not freedom of speech guys, it's a racial assaualt. consult legal.....Kathy

3001 days ago
73.

sb brody    

the dude deserved the choking. what a cry-baby.

3001 days ago
74.

Hardlife    

Go Woody! I was'nt as big of a Woody fan until now.
Who gives a rats A** what celebritys do on their personal times, let them be.
When you hold your regular jobs you would'nt want your work following you home would you?
Damned if I do waste a minute of of my time giving attention to a bloodsucking vermin like Levine. I hope all you get is that phony scratch on your neck and the camera you or your buddy broke. Boo-hoo, heres a bandaid and a some ducktape, fix your own problem that you dug yourself.
I hope Woody sues you for assaulting him with your camera, and making sexual comments.
I'm not a fan of LAPD but "Hey Bro," looks as if it was'nt a real emergency so walk your a** into the station to file a charge. Time for them to make an emergency run to the donuts.

3001 days ago
75.

Rane    

Woody asked the "photographer" (Levine) to stop taking photos. As the "photographer" did NOT stop, I believe Woody had every right to do the stopping. These photographers have NO BUSINESS prying into people's personal lifes. I dont' care if it's TMZ, People or whatever, you idiots have to stop prying into people's lives. You get what you ask for and it definitely appears Levine asked to get the shit beat out of him.

3001 days ago
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