Kanye West might beat the felony rap from his encounter with the paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport last week. Thanks to a quirk of California law, West might get off because when he and his road manager, Don Crowley, wrestled with two paparazzi and smashed the men’s cameras on Thursday, West only managed to get a fistful of one shooter’s lighting rig, which was only worth $100, TMZ reports.
Meanwhile, Crowley had his hands on the camera, which is worth more than $1,400, as well as a video camera belonging to TMZ reportedly valued at $7,000. California law states that someone who criminally damages property worth more than $400 can be prosecuted for felony vandalism. TMZ speculated that the charges for West could be lowered to a misdemeanor, while Crowley might still face felony counts.
In related news, two Los Angeles city councilmen filed a motion asking officials at LAX to look into how they deal with celebrities and the paparazzi. The Los Angeles Times reports that the motion, filed on Friday, asks LAX to think about how to “preserve public safety” at times when “high-profile passengers” are forced to deal with the increasing number of photographers who stake out the airport in the hopes of catching stars in transit.
The night before the West incident, airport security was called when a swarm of paparazzi descended on new mom Jamie Lynn Spears. The group of photographers was so big that six airport police officers were brought in to deal with the situation. An investigation was also launched on Thursday over whether the officers acted improperly when they helped Spears avoid the photographers by leaving through a restricted area.
On Friday, after posting $20,000 bail and being released from jail , West blogged about the incident , saying, “We back in the lab!!! I’m cool with the paparazzi. This guy wasn’t cool. I gotta work now.” West was reportedly in Hawaii the next day working on his upcoming album, 808′s and Heartbreak, which is set to be released on December 16.