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Hillsborough prosecutors drop felony battery charge against singer Chris Brown

Prosecutors have dropped a felony battery charge against singer Chris Brown, who was arrested afterhe punched a photographer during a party after a Tampa performance in April 2017. [Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office]

TAMPA — Prosecutors have dropped a felony battery charge filed against singer Chris Brown, who was accused of punching a photographer at a party after a concert more than two years ago.

The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office filed a notice Friday that prosecutors were dropping the charge, court records show.

"After a thorough review of the facts and information from the alleged victim, our office determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute,'' the State Attorney's office said in a statement.

Brown's attorney, Kevin Napper, said his client was wrongfully accused and welcomed what Napper called the "right decision" by Warren's office.

"He is appreciative of the state attorney's thorough and thoughtful review of the evidence, or lack thereof, and is looking forward to seeing his fans in Tampa," Napper said.

Brown is scheduled to play at Amalie Arena on Aug. 31.

The alleged battery happened during a party at the former Aja Channelside club after Brown's concert at Amalie Arena in April 2017. A number of guests posted photos and videos to social media sites of Brown jumping over a couch to get to Bennie Louis Vines Jr. — at the time, a 28-year-old photographer hired by Aja staff.

According to Tampa police, Vines said Brown's security team told him to stop taking photos of the star when he arrived about 1 a.m. so he began snapping photos of the crowd.

Brown took a seat near the photographer and motioned for him to leave, then lunged towards the photographer and punched him twice in the face, causing a small cut on his lip, Vines said. By the time Tampa police arrived at the club, Brown and his entourage were gone.

Brown was arrested July 5 after a show in West Palm Beach by police who were waiting just off stage with a warrant for his arrest.

Vines declined to comment Monday when reached by phone.

Brown is scheduled to perform at Amalie Arena on Aug. 31 as part of his Indigoat tour.

Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

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