LOS ANGELES – Sheriff's deputies arrested two cameramen photographing Britney Spears at a hair salon and two other photographers outside a trendy nightclub in a crackdown that follows a year of frenzied paparazzi swarms around the troubled pop star and other celebrities.
All four men were arrested for misdemeanor violations of obstructing a public walkway and released with citations, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said Wednesday.
Photographers David Tonnessen and Christian Shostoe were arrested around 7:50 p.m. Tuesday in front of West Hollywood's B2V Hair Salon, where 50 paparazzi tried to get shots of Spears, Whitmore said.
The two men did not comply with deputies' requests, Whitmore said.
"They were repeatedly asked to disassemble in front of the entrances and they were obstructing traffic as well, going into the street," he said.
Around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, in front of the nearby Villa nightclub, deputies arrested photographers Christopher Gonzalez and Vagn Rauch, who were there along with 20 other photographers on the sidewalk, Whitmore said.
The celebrity news Web site TMZ.com reported that Lindsay Lohan was at the club.
Shostoe and Gonzalez, who both work for TMZ, were "fine" after the arrests, TMZ managing editor Harvey Levin told The Associated Press.
Levin said Shostoe was held in a sheriff's car for an hour and then released and Gonzalez was detained for six hours at the West Hollywood sheriff's station. Levin alleged that a deputy broke one of the men's cameras.
"They are a little mystified," Levin said. "These are people who are instructed not to chase, and don't. For better or worse, the Sheriff's Department wanted to make examples of them."
Attempts to contact Tonnessen and Rauch were unsuccessful.
"We've been saying for a long time that law enforcement needs to crack down, that they've closed their eyes to a lot of dangerous things happening," said Levin. "The danger is blowing lights, running people off the road. ... This was not one of those situations."
He said it was "kind of bizarre that for awhile now they've been watching these chases, and this is their first stand."
TMZ photographers sign contracts stipulating "they don't break the rules," he said, and TMZ has filed police reports citing foul paparazzi behavior.
"We've been run off the road, we've been spit on," Levin said.