LIHUE — A pair of Kauai residents claim they watched one of Justin Bieber’s security guards assault a man trying to take pictures of the 19-year-old celebrity Wednesday at Shipwreck’s Beach in Poipu.
“I went there to see if I could get a better look at Justin Bieber and his security choked out one of the picture guys,” said Koloa resident Levi Lancaster. “It wasn’t just some random guy. It was for sure Justin Bieber’s security.”
The allegations come just days after an Argentine photographer accused Bieber’s guards of assaulting him outside a nightclub, as reported by Reuters.
The incident on Kauai occurred around 4 p.m., shortly after a crowd gathered to watch Bieber jump from the bluff on the east end of Shipwreck’s, according to a second eyewitness who asked to remain anonymous.
“Bieber verbally said to go get that guy and get his memory card,” the witness said. “He just sent his security to do his dirty work.”
A photo and video posted on the Canadian pop star’s Twitter account Thursday show him leaping from the famous cliff ledge on Kauai’s South Shore, while bystanders snap photos.
County spokeswoman Sarah Blane said Kauai police responded to the parking lot of Shipwreck’s Beach shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a reported assault.
Florida resident Dwayne Patterson, 32, was arrested at the scene for third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal property damage, according to Blane.
“According to a preliminary investigation, a 29-year-old Hanalei man had been taking unsolicited photos of the group that Patterson was with at the time,” she wrote in an email. “Mr. Patterson reportedly approached the 29-year-old and requested that he delete the photos. Upon refusing to do so, Patterson reportedly assaulted the Hanalei man and damaged his camera.”
Patterson was released after posting $3,000 bail, she said.
Lancaster said he watched the photographer sprint from the beach to the parking lot while two security guards — which he described as African American — chased him. When the two guards caught up to the man at his car, Patterson — who Lancaster identified by his mug shot — “put the man in a headlock and lifted him off the ground until he dropped his camera and keys,” he said.
“He was really calling for help,” Lancaster said of the victim.
Most disturbing, Lancaster said, was that the Canadian musician screamed at the security guard to make sure he got the man’s camera.
“There was no remorse,” he said. “How can you go out to Shipwreck’s and not expect people to take pictures?”
As soon as people nearby began to pull out camera phones to record the incident, the guard let go of the unidentified victim, according to the anonymous witness.
“It was so sad,” Lancaster said. “There was a better way to handle that. It was just a trip, man. It was unreal.”
Bieber reportedly left the island Thursday. His publicist Melissa Victor did not return requests for comment.
The Hanalei victim reported no injuries and refused medical attention. The incident remains under police investigation.