New Anti-Paparazzi Law in California

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 2479 into Law, making it a crime for paparazzi and others to follow recklessly in a vehicle in order to secure footage.

It will now also be against the law for paparazzi types to block a person’s path as they try to get away. Readers might remember that Princess Diana’s driver crashed the vehicle killing all but the bodyguard in an effort to escape from the paparazzi’s glare in Paris.

Private Investigator Jesse Martell thinks that the law should be more restrictive, allowing only P.I.s and Law Enforcement Officials to conduct vehicle surveillance. This is how the law is written in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Clients are often surprised and shocked to discover that they can not follow their spouse, significant other or employee in order to catch them cheating or stealing. Clients should always be aware of the law.

If information is obtained in an illegal manner (and sometime even Police and private investigators are guilty of this),that information is classed as “fruit of the poisonous tree” and will be thrown out of court.

It would appear as if there will be less scuffles between Executive Protection Agents and the paparazzi in the future – at least in California. We will have to wait to see if the old phrase holds true: “As does California, so does the rest of the Country”.

Hire "bouncers" for your security needs if you don’t mind getting sued.

Any clients reading this should pay particular attention to the outcome of Katie Price’s recent marriage ceremony.

The Mirror reports that she splurged on her first wedding, but tried to save money on this one by ordering cut-price flowers. Apparently she had the same motive when she looked for security for the wedding by hiring a team of nightclub bouncers to protect her from the paparazzi’s cameras.

If you don’t mind getting sued, have damaging articles written about you and destroying an important event – then by all means, hire yourself a bunch of nightclub bouncers.

When you do though, do not feign subsequent surprise when they grab people by the throat, throw (“bounce”) them around and break cameras. Guys who are hired “by the pound”, will not neccessarily have the training nor experience to handle a situation in a professional manner as would a corporate Personal Protection Specialist.

When a situation goes bad, do not think that a plea of ignorance will go very far either. When someone decides to sue after being manhandled by an unprofessional security person, the plaintiff’s attorney will dig up everything they can regarding the professional qualifications of the person you hired.

If you “cut corners” and hired some big “bouncer”, chances are he will not be able to provide certificates of training he received in Executive Protection/Personal Protection/Close Protection. More than likely, the plaintiff’s legal team will hire someone like me who runs a professional, State Certified training school to tell them what all is involved in a professional training program.

If you find yourself in this situation and your lawyer tells you that the plaintiff has hired me to testify as an expert witness; do yourself a favor and settle out of court. It will be cheaper that way.

This is a "what-not-to-do" lesson for all aspiring bodyguards

Hollywood celebrities are really one of a kind and we probably should not even attempt to understand them. Those of us involved with Executive Protection and training E.P. agents really cringe when we read stories like this one about Brittany Spears’ new bodyguard, Ryan.

For those of you not involved in the profession, or looking to get involved and who may be reading this, the first sign that her bodyguard is not properly trained is the way he is walking with her. He should not have his arm around her. He looks like he is dating her, not protecting her.

Then we read that when he discovers her vehicle is getting a ticket, he abandons his Principal and runs out to talk the meter maid out of writing the ticket. Meanwhile the clever paparazzi seize the moment when Spears is not only underwearless, but bodyguardless to snap some shots.

If Ryan had even a half of a clue about what his responsibilities were, he would have parked the vehicle legally upon arrival or just allowed the $25 ticket to be written.

As far as ensuring that his Principal wore underwear, well we won’t ding him for that one. Ms. Spears is known for her propensity to “go commando”.

Celebrity’s Bodyguard Caught on Camera

Paparazzi seem to draw bodyguards to their cameras like moths to a light bulb.

This recent grapple caught on video was aired on the Fox News show in the “Kelly’s Court” segment. Megyn Kelly acted as the judge while two other lawyers debated whether the photographer had a chance of winning a civil suit

The celebrity, John Meyer, appeared to be exiting a restaurant with a friend when a photographer tried to take a picture. Although the clip was relatively short, it appeared as if Mr. Meyer’s E.P. agent went over the top in trying to block the photogapher from taking the picture.

From a professional E.P. point of view, the matter could have been handled with much decorum and expertise. Mr. Meyer should have been closely escorted to his vehicle and placed inside out of harm’s way. Since there only appeared to be one E.P. agent (who also doubled up as driver), when he went charging at the photographer, he left his Principal unprotected.

For some reason, many of the people employed to protect celebrities seem more preoccupied with making sure that pictures are not taken rather than ensuring the safety of their Principal. What makes it all the more ironic, is the fact that these celebrities are usually out in the public eye and therefore can not realistically expect total privacy.

If you are a Personal Protection Specialist and you find yourself in this position, remember two things. Firstly, always remember your duty to protect your Principal. If you are doing it alone, who will be looking after them when you are rolling around the floor with a photographer?

Secondly, remember that you can be sued civilly – and do not take that literally, there is nothing civil about it. You may or may not be prosecuted criminally, but if you lose a civil suit, it could mean that you’ll be spending the rest of your working life paying that photographer who is claiming neck injuires and all kinds of trauma.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it is hardly worth ruining your career and life.