West Point cadet's attorney wants criminal charges against Patti LaBelle's bodyguards

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 6, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 7 at 10:12 AM

HOUSTON—There are new developments in the case of a West Point cadet who is suing R&B singer Patti LaBelle in connection with an alleged beating at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Houston native Richard King claims he was waiting for his family to pick him up outside Terminal C in March when three of LaBelle’s bodyguards attacked him.

The bodyguards told officers with the Houston Police Department that King attacked them. They said King tried to get into their limo and threw the first punch.

The limo driver, Zuri Edwards, told police he did not want to file charges against King.

According to the police report, King is named as the suspect, but officers are taking a second look at the case after King’s attorney released surveillance video of the alleged beating.

"I’m encouraged by that because anyone who is seeking the truth in this will see clearly that Richard was attacked by these people with no provocation whatsoever," said Houston attorney John Raley. "The video confirms it, witnesses confirm it and now the police are looking at it."

There is no audio on the tape.

The bodyguard and limo driver reported that King was intoxicated.

Police officers noted in their report that the 23-year-old smelled of alcohol.

Meanwhile, police say they could launch an internal investigation into the officers’ actions after two of the officers were seen on the same surveillance video taking pictures with LaBelle just after the alleged beating.

"I have great admiration and appreciation for those who protect and serve, in the fire department, in the police department, armed services, but sometimes people do things that quite frankly they disgrace their uniforms and I think these people are among them," said Raley.

According to Raley, after the incident, someone from HPD called West Point to report a cadet was drunk and involved in an assault.

As a result, the attorney says his client – an Army football player—was suspended.

When West Point learned about the incident, they told King he would have to serve 18 months on Army deployment before he could re-apply to West Point to finish school.

But now, Raley said the officers are taking a second look at the case, too.

"Officers now who have seen the videotape and know that he is innocent have come forward and said, ‘We’re on your side,’ so it’s possible that West Point will reconsider this decision," said Raley. "We’re hopeful."

A spokesperson for West Point did not return a phone call for comment.

At this point, no criminal charges have been filed in the case.

An HPD spokesperson said the case remains open.

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