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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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121.

Char    

If the handgrip/fingerprints/lacerations don't fit..........you must acquit.

2849 days ago
122.

Stacy    

Serious, take one or two pictures and be done with it! When they take a million pictures they're trying to piss people off.

2849 days ago
123.

Stacy    

Yes, being on camara is their job. But when does celebrity end and reality begin? Doesn't everyone deserve some privacy? I'm sure it gets real old fast. Unless you're paris hilton...

2849 days ago
124.

michaelpaulc@aol.com    

This guy Levine is a punk and acted like one. TMZ is a obviously a punk bunch of hippocrites to exploit the glory of celebs until defaming them is a little more convenient. He provoked Woody because he realized Woody didn't want to be video taped and was hoping for a confrontation. He deserved an ass kicking not a shove. Woody has been a good citizen and stood behind issues he believes in. What has this punk done?

2849 days ago
125.

k f    

photog deserved it. woody politely asked him to stop and he didn't. and it's not like he was taping anything interesting!

2849 days ago
126.

buddha    

wounds look self-inflicted...if you lay in the street to get that ultimate pic during the "running of the bulls", you might just get stomped and gored..

2849 days ago
127.

justpicky    

AGAIN ......IF CELEBS DOESN'T WANT THERE PICTURE TAKEN , THEY NEED TO BE OUT OF BUSINESS, STOP ACTING . THIS IS THE PRICE YOU PAY , WHEN YOU BECOME RICH / FAMOUS , CELEBS KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY'RE GETTING THERE SELVES INTO , WHEN THEY BECOME FAMOUS.

AS FAR AS THE CAMERAMEN , THEY SHOULD BE 20 FEET AWAY FROM THE CELEBS . CAMERAMEN CAN GET A PICTURE EVEN THAT FAR AWAY.

THERE SHOULD BE A LAW WHERE CAMERAMEN CAN'T BE CLOSE .......OR ELSE THEY WILL GET A HUGEEEEEE FINE LIKE $100,000 EACH TIME , I BET THAT WILL STOP .

2849 days ago
128.

schnig    

Are you people kidding me. Woody has shown himself time and time again to be an arrongant #*%. He was on a public street. The photag wasn't on his property, shooting over his fence or through his window. As it is stated...he was coming out of a celebrity hot spot. There are plenty of bigger celebs who manage to stay out of the limelight. This hotdog wants to be seen and has been in plenty of fights before. Photags can be idiots and many are, but this one's all on Woodenhead.

2849 days ago
129.

fredhead    

judaism jews like this levine are the downfall of this world. lowlife scum

2849 days ago
130.

Bingo    

There has been much ado about the paparazzi-pursuing-celebrities issues. However, from the evidence, it does not appear to me that the photographer was being aggressive towards Mr. Harrelson and there were obviously other photographers present who were not attacked. I wonder if there were other reasons why Mr. Harrelson attacked. Alcohol? Maybe he was already pissed about something else? Who was the 3rd women in their party?...Maybe he wasn't suppose to be in her company? Regardless, I would definitely be more understanding to Mr. Harrelson's actions if he had a child with him or if the photogs were putting them in physical danger, but these were not the case. Therefore, one person, no matter who it is, how popular you are or how much money and celebrity you have, no one has the right to physically attack another human being. Cuss him out, flip him off, turn the back and walk away, but NEVER TOUCH!! What the photog was doing was not a crime, what Mr. Harrelson did was. You can't say it was ok just because you like Mr. Harrelson's movies.

2849 days ago
131.

James Burrill    

The photographer's at fault.
Taking pics when the stars are "on show" is fine. But when they make it clear that this is NOT the time or the place... Well, Then it goes from a job to a personal confrontation.
In this case the actor had obviously made it knwon that he was 'off duty' and to leave him alone. The photographer didn't have the sense/couth/manners/integrety to just say 'Sure thing! See you next tme!"

papparazzii... a four letter word for ___________.

2849 days ago
132.

JACK    

THAT PHOTOG. WAS NOT IN WOODYS FACE HE WAS OUT IN THE STREET AND THE NUT CASEWENT AFTER HIM. I HOPE HE HAS A BIG PAY DAY FROM WOODY.

2849 days ago
133.

AD    

your cameraman got what he deserved. woody was nice enough; your cameraman was a wiseass. "I can't help it; you're just so sexy man." he was trying to start an altercation.

i suppose i should be ashamed for visiting such a pathetic site to begin with, but i will not continue to visit if i see another incident like this.

2849 days ago
134.

Anthony    

MY DAD ALWAYS SAID " WANNA PLAY , THEN BE PREPARED TO PAY " , SO TAKE IT LIKE A MAN...THATS THE LOW LIFE BUISNESS YOUR IN..YOU DON'T GO RUNNING TO THE POLICE LIKE A LITTLE FAG...

2849 days ago
135.

David    

I think the paparazzi should have been stopped along time ago somebody needs to step in and draw aline with these creeps somewheres they say there just doing there job but really they are just waiting for there chance to set a Celeb up so they can sue for a quick buck anyone ever see the movie paparazzi ? yeah its just a movie but that could happen for real by some over excited "Paparazzi" or as I like to call them "legal Stalkers" the Celeb didn't sign up to be stalked they signed up to make a living from entertaining us through Music, Movies & sports or whatever else they do so saying they asked for this is just a chicken sh!t way of placing blame on the Celebs and not where it should be....... I'd went all Tommy Lee on the dudes ass..... Woody asked the dude twice to stop & go away and the guy didn't so he got what he asked for. again I think Paparazzi should be stopped by LAW

2849 days ago
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