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Comedian Martin Lawrence Runs Into Street, Yells at Cars

May 08, 1996|MARGARET RAMIREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

With a pistol in his pocket, comedian Martin Lawrence ran into traffic on busy Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks on Tuesday, cursing and screaming at oncoming cars until he was taken away by police and hospitalized, authorities 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.

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 who said he was an acquaintance of Lawrence--said the actor 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 may have had a seizure because he failed to take a prescribed medication, but a statement from Lawrence's publicist, Kim Jones, offered another explanation.

"[A doctor] has found Mr. Lawrence to be suffering from a case of complete exhaustion and dehydration," the statement said.

Lawrence, 30, made the leap from television to film last year when he co-starred with actor Will Smith as a police officer in the action-comedy blockbuster "Bad Boys," which grossed about $16 million. Lawrence recently made his directing debut in "A Thin Line Between Love and 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, mixed with modern attitude and street slang, has won praise from reviewers, and many in the entertainment industry have spoken of him as a potential successor to Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy.

Times staff writer Greg Braxton contributed to this story.

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