Police Chief William Bratton said Thursday the city has had fewer problems with paparazzi since Britney Spears “started wearing clothes” and other celebrities changed their partying ways.
“If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank God, and evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don’t seem to have much of an issue,” Bratton told KNBC-TV.
Bratton said the altered behavior makes proposals being considered for new laws to crack down on paparazzi an unnecessary “farce” because photogs who swarm neighborhoods and shopping districts have been losing interest in snapping stars in trouble.
“If the ones that attract the paparazzi behave in the first place, like we expect of anybody, that solves about 90 percent of the problem. The rest we can deal with,” he said.
Bratton, wearing gray gym clothes with a towel around his neck, said he interrupted his workout to speak to a TV reporter after hearing Councilman Dennis Zine discussing possible new restrictions on freelance photographers. Zine was set to lead a meeting later in the day at City Hall to discuss ways to restrict aggressive paparazzi.
Bratton called the hearing “grandstanding and foolishness” and said he would not take part.
“We have sufficient laws on the books” to deal with aggressive paparazzi, he said.
Bratton later made similar remarks to other TV stations.
Zine said his concerns about paparazzi were prompted by the $25,000 that police spent to escort Spears from her Studio City home to a West Los Angeles medical center for a psychiatric evaluation in January.
Zine has authored a motion for the city to require a “personal safety zone” around celebs, but it has not yet been heard by the City Council. Bratton has said such an ordinance would be ambiguous and difficult to enforce.
In the past, the city has used existing ordinances to curb paparazzi. Earlier this month, for example, police arrested two photographers for loitering near Spears’ home.