The past weekend saw Louis Tomlinson of One Direction arrested at LAX under suspicion of simple battery. According to authorities, Tomlinson and a female companion were being photographed by a paparazzo when Tomlinson grabbed the photographer’s legs and pulled him to the ground. When the paparazzo fell, he hit his back and head.
A witness filmed Tomlinson’s companion as she tried to leave the scene, after which a fight broke out between the witness and the female companion. Shortly after the fight broke out, Tomlinson entered the fray and attempted to get the witness’s cell phone by grabbing her wrist. The action caused the witness to fall to the ground, and at some point during the altercation, was struck in the eye. The paparazzo was taken to the hospital for treatment, and no information on his condition is available. The witness who was filming the altercation on her cell phone was treated at the scene and released.
According to Tomlinson’s lawyer, it was the paparazzi who provoked the altercation, and Tomlinson was merely trying to come to his female companion’s aid.
Tomlinson was released a few hours after his arrest on $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 29 to answer to the charges.
California Penal Code 242 PC covers simple battery, and describes it as the willful and unlawful use of force against someone else. Despite the images that the term “battery” may conjure up, one does not necessarily need to inflict significant injury – or any injury at all – in order to be charged with the crime. All that is required is that one person touches another in an offensive way. For example, pushing, spitting on, or throwing something at someone are all actions that can possibly result in having battery charges pressed against the defendant.
Simple battery is a misdemeanor in California, and the possible penalties include summary probation, up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.