Published June 08, 2011
A West Point cadet is suing singer Patti LaBelle and alleging police misconduct after he was beaten up by her security guards in an incident at the Houston International Airport partially captured on videotape.
An attorney for Richard King, 23, says he was on the phone with his brother waiting to be picked at Bush International Airport in the March 11 incident when he was viciously attacked by LaBelle’s bodyguards, while he unknowingly stood next to the star’s luggage and limo. King’s lawyer, John Raley, has released a surveillance video of the incident.
“King is shoved, and then punched. A third attacker, a woman, joined in, driving him back 12 to 15 feet, driving his head into a concrete pillar, causing a serious concussion and bleeding from the nose and mouth,” Raley told FoxNews.com. “He was then taunted and kicked.
“Police arrived on scene shortly after. For reasons known only to them, they took statements only from attackers and a taxi dispatcher who, as you can see in the video, is clearly a Patti LaBelle fan,” he added.
Raley is referencing a moment in the video which appears to show an officer posing for a picture with LaBelle after writing down her statement following the altercation.
Houston police officials have said the incident is under investigation.
“We are reviewing to determine what happened at the scene, and this includes whether the officers acted appropriately,” said Officer Jodi Silva, adding that no one was charged in the incident because King was unable to provide a statement at the time, and limousine driver Zuri Edwards refused to press charges.
As a result of the incident, King is no longer a West Point cadet. Citing privacy regulations, West Point spokeswoman Lt. Col. Sherri Reed on Tuesday would not say if King was dismissed or left as a result of the incident.
“Police there during the workup posed for a picture with Patti, standing over the blood of Richard King,” Raley continued. “The police at the scene also prepared a report that is absolutely false and then called West Point, using statements provided Richard’s attackers. Due to his injuries, King has no memory of the event. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance, [where he was given] four staples in his head. Headaches and dizziness continue.”
LaBelle’s bodyguards reportedly told police the “intoxicated” cadet attempted to get into the star’s limo, and that he incited the attack by throwing the first punch. King denies he even knew who LaBelle was prior to the incident.
Raley said he wants criminal charges brought against the attackers, and his civil lawsuit is attempting to hold the singer responsible as well.
“LaBelle is responsible not only for the actions of herself, but the actions of her security forces under the doctrine of respondent superior,” the suit alleges.
The suit, filed in Houston civil court, also states the R&B diva “lowered the window of her limousine and gave a command to her bodyguards,” prompting them to spring into action.
If a judge finds the claim to be accurate, LaBelle could face serious trouble.
“The worst-case scenario for Patti Labelle is if she encouraged the assault without good reason, like self defense, she could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the assault,” said criminal defense attorney David E. Wohl.
A representative for LaBelle did not respond for comment.
In spite of the drama, King is confident he will be able to soon return to his military duties.
‘Richard King will proudly serve his country wherever he is deployed. When he completes his 18 month tour of duty, he will reapply to West Point,” Raley said. “The cadets of America’s military academies are some of the finest young men and women in our country. Richard was honored to be a West Point cadet, and, God willing, will be one again.”