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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.

302 COMMENTS

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76.

Dee    

This photog creep had no intentions of stopping. He HOPED that if he BAITED Woody then something would happen. Who knows what was really said under the breath where all you hear is mumbling?

The laws in the US MUST be changed to STOP this STALKING! It is ridiculous.

Yes, I like to see pics, but pics of the stars when they want to be filmed is OKAY by me. I don't expect TMZ or anyone else to HARRASS these people just to start a fight for some stupid picture!

TMZ went OVER the TOP this time, and they should tell their photogs to STOP filming when they are asked to stop.

Sometimes you see these people, and they are people, try to leave a place and get completely surrounded by these creeps. They will not let the stars walk or get into their vehicles. Then the photogs are all around the vehicle all the while thousands of flashbulbs are going off in these PEOPLE'S eyes. Most of the time, the celebrity cannot even drive off without running the photogs down. Now that might be a good idea.

"Celebrity Photog STALKER ACCIDENTALLY run over by Celebrity because the Photog wouldn't get out of the way!" ......story at 5:00. lmao

3038 days ago
77.

Drew    

The photog is lucky all he did was get choked ,if that was me Id have pucnched him out then hit in the head with his camera !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3038 days ago
78.

Tim Cross    

Woody asked the guy nicely to stop filming. The guy responded way out of line. Personally, I think he got what he deserved. It was not anything major. There used to be time that when two guys had a problem they went out back and settled it. Is this guy just a big whimp or something? He took a chance and acted like and idot and got his camera busted and a little sratch on his neck. Quit being a mamma's boy and be man and learn and all you whimpy men and woman get a life.

3038 days ago
79.

Don Romaine    

Has anyone given any thought to the fact that the actors and actresses make their living on camera? They get paid to be on camera. As such, these cameramen are actually involved in a criminal act....theft of services, and could be arrested. Also, there could and should be civil action on the part of the celebrity for denying income for filming them without being paid.

These cameramen make a living harrassing the actors, they actually make money from the fame of these people. They love the confrontation, it makes the film worth more!!!

On a side note, if you had a business, and someone else was making money off your business, wouldn't you expect compensation? Do not feel sorry for these cameramen, they seek out these celebs, antagonize them, and reap in the money.

3038 days ago
80.

Iron    

KICK HIS ASS WOODY ! ! !

3038 days ago
81.

nick    

Go Woody!!!!!!!!!....sorry tmz, but i don't feel sorry for your little punk of a photographer at all. Everyone deserves *some* privacy.

3038 days ago
82.

babs    

TMZ should pay Harrelson damages! No one deserves to be stalked and harrassed, not even celebrities. Is there really an audience for footage like that? Pathetic. The paparazzi are vultures and should consider getting real jobs; meanwhile "fans" should not encourage them in any way. Shame on the losers that try to ride the coat tails of entertainers...Get a life! Do something meaningful!

3038 days ago
83.

PhuqueTuna&Mattie    

Levine was being the typical "you can't touch me" smartass photographer and should thank his lucky stars (yeah, pun intended) that Harrelson didn't BREAK his neck vs scratching it. WTF?! Do we really need to see more than 15 seconds of Woody walking down the street? These celebrity hunters have simply gone too far. My suggestion? Walk right up to the camera smiling broadly, slip your hand into your pocket, come out blasting with pepper mace. Then film the pansies with their own cameras as they scream "my eyes, my eyes!!!!". Then push them into traffic. They deserve no better.

3038 days ago
84.

Cathy    

Why don't these photographer's get a REAL job!!! I would of chocked him myself. I think when a star like Harrelson "asks" the photographer to stop shooting, he should. Is anyone besides me, sick of all the magazines about star's lives? BORING!!!!! I say get a real job loser!

3038 days ago
85.

Key West Conch    

Yeah, maybe Woody overreacted a little, but the cameraman was a major jerk. He didn't look or act professional and was asked nicely to stop. If it were the average Joe, he probably would have received a good butt whipping. He behaved like a punk and was treated like one. I think some of these phototogs incite these kind of incidents so they can turn around and sue. I wonder if they'd take a chance like that with crazy Mike (Tyson). NOT! The DA's office should hold these jerks accountable as well. Make Woody pay for the camera but thats it. Woody should charge the guy with stalking, thats exactly what the video shows. I have no sympathy for the little punk. He got what he asked for.

3038 days ago
86.

ralph    

The paparazzi should give celebrities some privacy. Of course they need to do their job, but they should do it during the day. Celebrities have every right to go out at night and enjoy themselves without having to fear that there are cameras waiting outside of a club.

3038 days ago
87.

byron    

Anybody should be able to go out for the evening without being aggravated by someone with a camera. Harrelson asked the guy to stop. the guy wouldnt stop. I think woody was within his rights. Any photographer who refuses to stop filming should be charged with some form of assault.

3038 days ago
88.

chris baze    

Come on, if them guys want the photos that bad after being ask not to, it turns to war, and are there rules that state you cant hit, choke, slap, or even shoot them in a war. come on he is just trying to get cash.

3038 days ago
89.

Lily    

Leave Woody alone. TMZ needs to back off.
Woody need his private.

3038 days ago
90.

paul griffiths    

i feel woody was with in his right to go after that scum.. he did ask politly three times for him to stop. the guy got what he desirved.and his company is shameless for promoting it on aol ... so woddy is a star dose that mean he is fair game to be baited and followed naaaa stars are peoples too how would you like it if you were followed... wait thats stalking hummmmm

3038 days ago
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