Patti LaBelle sued over alleged attack

June 3, 2011 4:10:47 AM PDT
Singing legend Patti LaBelle -- the so-called godmother of soul -- is now the target of a lawsuit after a violent confrontation involving her security guards was caught on camera at a Houston airport. The man who filed the lawsuit says he was the victim of an unprovoked attack and he accuses Patti LaBelle of sending her guards after him. Much of it was caught on surveillance video.

The case was filed in a civil lawsuit because the Houston Police Department didn't file any criminal charges in this case. The lawsuit alleges it was Patti LaBelle who told her bodyguards to remove someone who was standing too close to her luggage.

The entire incident was recorded by a security camera at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Richard King, seen wearing a yellow shirt in the video, was involved in the physical confrontation. King was the victim of an unprovoked attack, says his lawyer.

"He was completely taken by surprise," said John Raley, King's attorney. "No one would have seen this coming. Even watching the videotape now for the, I don't know how many times we've watched it, it still is surprising the violence and the suddenness and the brutality of this attack."

The incident happened on March 11. King, who is 23 years old and a senior at West Point Military Academy, told us by phone on Wednesday that on March 11, he was on spring break and came to Houston to visit his family. King says he was on the phone with his brother, unaware he was standing next to LaBelle's luggage. King says at the time, he'd never heard of Patti LaBelle.

"I pretty much got jumped," King said. "I really don't even know why, and on top of that, it's causing a lot of trouble up here because of the false police report that they had reported."

According to Houston police, King is described as a suspect who was harassing the occupants of the limo. HPD also reports it was King who appeared to be intoxicated and punched the limo driver. King denies being drunk.

Robert Bowick, an attorney for King, said, "It doesn't matter if Cadet King was impaired from a drink or two. He was minding his own business. He was not harming anybody. He was not a harm to himself."

Equally disturbing, says King's lawyer, are the actions of LaBelle after the incident. The superstar emerges from her limo and takes pictures with fans, including a Houston police officer. Raley says LaBelle was standing over King's spilled blood on the ground.

Repeated attempts to contact LaBelle or her representatives were unsuccessful.

Load Comments