Rapper/producer Kanye West and his bodyguard were arrested at the Los Angeles airport for felony vandalism after they allegedly destroyed the cameras of two paparazzi who were trying to photograph him.
The man in the hooded grey sweats in the video is allegedly Kanye. The man in red is his bodyguard and road manager, Don Crowley. West and Crowley were changing planes at LAX while en route to Hawaii, when the altercation took place prior to 8 AM on Thursday, September 11, 2008
So far, the only people talking to the press are the paparazzi who filed charges against West and Crowley. It is said that the cameras destroyed during the incident each cost as much as $10,000.
The Associated Press is reporting that a witness, Charles Davis who works at the airport soliciting charity donations, saw the entire incident.
Davis claims that the 31-year-old West was “attacked” by the paparazzi and that West was merely “defending himself.”
Davis said, “I talk to him all the time. He’s a very nice gentleman. Very nice. He gives good donations to help children. He’s got a good, kind heart. I’ve gotten his autograph several times. I just don’t see why he was arrested. The man just put the camera too close to his face. I don’t blame him.”
Davis also said that he didn’t think the camera was totally destroyed. “It was just knocked out of the man’s hand,” said Davis.
West and Crowley were booked at a nearby Los Angeles police station and West was released on $20,000 bond.
Kanye West has won numerous Grammies and other awards during his career which hit the big time in 2004 with his album The College Dropout, which won Best Rap Album Grammy that year.
He also won Best Rap Album Grammy in 2005 for his album, Late Registration, and in 2007 for Graduation.
Despite his commercial success, West is also known for having a quick temper and speaking his mind on controversial topics. In 2005 during a telethon raising funds for hurricane Katrina victims, West said on the air that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
Thursday’s arrest is the first time, however, that West has let his temper escalate above the verbal level.
The first video shows the actual altercation at the airport:
The second video is a CNN news report of the incident: