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California Briefing / MALIBU

Violence rumors spur more patrols

June 26, 2008|Harriet Ryan

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will beef up its presence on Malibu's beaches this weekend in response to online threats of continued violence involving paparazzi and locals, officials said Wednesday night.

The decision to add extra officers to the half a dozen who normally patrol the city's 27-mile shoreline came after investigators reviewed hundreds of messages on the gossip websites X17 and TMZ.

"The common theme seems to be that one of the weekend days the two sides are going to come together," said Capt. Tom Martin of the Lost Hills-Malibu station.

Martin said the investigation into brawls Saturday and Sunday was being hampered by lack of access to raw video footage of the incidents.

He said only one of the approximately 12 photographers present has turned over video to authorities.

"We're having to rely on edited film off of the Internet that doesn't give us the full picture," he said.

Martin said detectives were also searching for additional victims.

Two hurt in Saturday's fracas -- one photographer and one beachgoer -- and four photographers injured Sunday have come forward, he said.

Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said they were forming a task force to address what Ulich termed "a new breed of paparazzi" who "travel in packs, run red lights, make unsafe . . . U-turns in pursuit of their subject."

At a news conference Wednesday, Ulich said the task force, which will include experts in constitutional law from Pepperdine University, will look into forcing paparazzi to get licenses to work in Malibu.

-- Harriet Ryan

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