The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that a photographer is suing Chris Brown and his girlfriend Rihanna for $1 million after alleging their bodyguards roughed him up and took off with his camera in May. [Scroll down to hear 911 call.]
Luis Santana, 26, is suing to replace the $3,000 camera that was broken and stolen; to pay for the photos he lost; and compensation for his injuries and emotional distress, said his attorney, Paul Kimsey.
On May 6, Brown and Rihanna celebrated his 19th birthday at Vintage Ultra Lounge in St. Petersburg. Santana took at least one picture of the stars through an open window of their limo, Kimsey said. Then bodyguards working for Brown, Rihanna and Vintage Ultra Lounge chased Santana, forced him to the ground and stole his camera, breaking it in the process, according to Kimsey.
The club and three alleged attackers are also named as defendants in the suit.
“This is America. It’s called the First Amendment. If you’re in public, you’re subject to being photographed,” Kimsey said. “Everyone is, celebrity or not.”
The state attorney’s office is not prosecuting because witnesses provided too much conflicting information to identify the suspects beyond a reasonable doubt, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney. Police also presented Santana with photos of possible suspects, but he was unable to make a clear identification, Bartlett said. Instead, he pointed out the defendant and said the picture “looks like him,” Bartlett said.
Listen to 911 call here.