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Martin Lawrence Detained, Treated

Incident: The actor, carrying a concealed pistol, is found screaming on Ventura Boulevard, authorities say.


SHERMAN OAKS — With a pistol in his pocket, comedian Martin Lawrence ran into traffic on busy Ventura Boulevard on Tuesday, cursing and screaming "fight the establishment" at oncoming cars until he was taken away by police and hospitalized, police and witnesses said.

Lawrence, star of the television sitcom "Martin" and the films "Bad Boys" and "A Thin Line Between Love & Hate," was found in the middle of Ventura Boulevard at Tyrone Avenue about 12:30 p.m., said Sgt. Bert Mora of the Los Angeles Police Department's Van Nuys Division.

After police restrained Lawrence, he was taken to Sherman Oaks Hospital and Health Center and later released to his personal physician, Dr. William Young of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Mora said.

A witness--who declined to be identified but said he was an acquaintance of Lawrence's--said Lawrence was cursing, waving his hands and yelling, "Fight the establishment." He said Lawrence ran out of the street when police arrived and tried to fight them off when they attempted to restrain him.

Lawrence had a handgun in his pants pocket, and detectives will ask the city attorney's office to charge him with misdemeanor possession of a concealed firearm, Mora said.

Police said Lawrence had a seizure because he failed to take a prescribed medication, but a statement from Lawrence's publicist, Kim Jones, offered another explanation.

"Dr. Young has found Mr. Lawrence to be suffering from a case of complete exhaustion and dehydration," said the statement. "Mr. Lawrence will remain under his doctor's care until further notice."

Lawrence, 30, made the leap from television to film last year when he co-starred with actor Will Smith as a cop in the action-comedy movie "Bad Boys," which grossed about $16 million. He recently made his directing debut in "A Thin Line Between Love & Hate," on which he was also executive producer, co-writer and star.

Lawrence's bawdy humor, often loaded with expletives, brought much controversy when the Motion Picture Assn. gave his concert film "You So Crazy" an NC-17 rating. After he delivered a monologue laced with sexual references on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in 1994, he was banned from the show.

His stand-up routine, a mix of comedy with modern attitude and street slang, won praise from reviewers, and many in the entertainment industry spoke of Lawrence, an African American, as the potential successor to star black comedians Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy.

The incident came two weeks after actress Margot Kidder, best known as Lois Lane in the "Superman" films, was found by police in bushes behind a home in Glendale, dirty and disheveled with her hair hacked off. Kidder, who had apparently wandered across the city for three days after disappearing from Los Angeles International Airport, was taken to a county hospital and then transferred to a private psychiatric clinic.

Times staff writer Greg Braxton contributed to this story.

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