Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Club photographer says pop star Chris Brown punched him after Tampa concert; no arrests made

Chris Brown performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 16, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

Chris Brown performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on April 16, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

TAMPA — Pop star Chris Brown has achieved Internet infamy once again in a familiar locale: the Tampa Bay area. A photographer at Aja Channelside told Tampa police that the singer punched him inside the club early Monday morning.

But so far the incident hasn't gone further than celebrity gossip websites. No arrests were made and Tampa police spokesman Steve Hegarty said there is no active investigation.

Brown, 27, was booked to appear at the club's "Chris Brown and Friends Official After Party" for a minimum of one hour following his Sunday evening concert at Amalie Arena. But the singer and his security guards spent less than five minutes at Aja.

Club photographer Bennie L. Vines Jr., 38, said Brown "sucker punched" him and then immediately left, according to a police report.

Vines said Brown's security told him to stop taking photos of the star when he arrived about 1 a.m. Vines told police that when Brown saw him snapping photos of the crowd, the singer jumped over a couch and punched him twice in the face, causing a small cut on his lip.

Brown was not at the club when officers arrived. All police have is Vines' account of the incident. If Vines wants to press charges, police said they would send the case to the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office to decide whether or not the case warrants prosecution.

Brown didn't interact with Aja's staff or club patrons before the alleged attack, and seemed in high spirits during his hour-long set at Amalie.

Tickets to the after party cost between $15 to $60, and attendees posted dozens of videos and photos to social media showing the moment Brown, wearing a red sweatshirt and baseball hat, allegedly attacked Vines.

Later, Brown went to The Drynk on South Howard Avenue, joining another after party hosted by Fabolous. Drynk manager Enrique DeJesus said Brown stayed at the club until it closed at 3 a.m. and was "just having a good time."

"He's done events with us before and always did a great job, very professional," DeJesus said. "He didn't seem like anything was wrong."

Brown was scheduled to appear at a Miami nightclub that night, and perform Tuesday in Jacksonville. Aja management posted a note to the club's Facebook page explaining what had happened, saying "assault charges were pressed and we are dealing with the proper authorities accordingly."

RELATED STORY: Review: Chris Brown puts his talents, faults on display at Amalie Arena in Tampa

"Incidents like the ones caused by Chris Brown and his team are very sad to see," the club's managers wrote. "After only a few minutes of being there, Chris Brown himself and his team assaulted our club photographer and proceeded to walk out of the venue. Aja Channelside and our employees apologize for the inconvenience."

FROM THE ARCHIVES:'tbt' photographer's lawsuit says R&B stars' guards beat him, took camera

Brown was paid $30,000 in advance for the appearance, and his contract with Aja neither addressed nor prohibited photography, the club's owners said.

Monday wasn't the first time Brown was accused of attacking a photographer in Tampa.

In 2008, Tampa Bay Times photographer Luis Santana filed a lawsuit against Brown alleging his bodyguards beat him and stole his camera. Santana settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

The following year, Brown pled guilty to felony assault charges filed by then-girlfriend Rhianna. He's been in and out of jail and rehab ever since, battling the courts for allegedly punching a man in 2013, beating his former manager in June, and sparking a police standoff before being arrested for threatening a woman with a gun in August. The cases have yet to be settled.

Contact Anastasia Dawson at adawson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.

Club photographer says pop star Chris Brown punched him after Tampa concert; no arrests made 04/17/17 [Last modified: Monday, April 17, 2017 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Budgets, principals, vouchers and more

    Blogs

    VETO TIME? Gov. Rick Scott weighs advice on whether to reject the Legislature's education budget. • Pasco County school officials

  2. UK police arrest man in Manchester bombing, which May called 'a callous terrorist attack'

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — Greater Manchester Police say they have arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the apparent suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in the city.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  3. Trump condemns 'evil losers' who carried out Manchester concert attack

    Politics

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank — President Donald Trump condemned the "evil losers" responsible for the deadly attack on concert-goers in England Tuesday and called on leaders in the Middle East in particular to help root out violence.

    President Donald Trump pauses as he makes a statement on the terrorist attack in Manchester, after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem. [Associated Press]
  4. Tampa Bay Times journalists wins 17 Green Eyeshade Awards

    Human Interest

    Tampa Bay Times journalists placed first in seven categories of the prestigious Green Eyeshade awards, which honors outstanding journalism in the Southeast.