UPDATE September 24, 2014: A federal jury cleared Patti LaBelle and her entourage in the beating of a West Point cadet at George Bush International Airport.
Airport security camera footage shows what appears to be at least two members of singer Patti LaBelle's entourage beating a West Point cadet who was waiting to be picked up by his father and brother.
The footage, provided by lawyers for Richard King, does not appear to show King instigating the assault. King, dressed in a yellow shirt, is seen talking on his cell phone a few feet from a limo, occupied by LaBelle, and an SUV. At one point, one of LaBelle's guards confronts King; another (extremely large) man appears, and the two beat him back toward a pillar as a woman swoops in out of nowhere. (Action starts about the 1:30 mark of the video.)
King tries to get up but can't regain his balance. He eventually staggers back toward the sliding-door baggage claim entrance. Meanwhile, Houston police gather on the scene, just feet from a pool of King's blood, and take photos with LaBelle, who graciously exits the limo.
HPD Spokesman Vincent Senties told us that witnesses told police that "a male by the name of Richard King struck a limo driver in the face and then he was pushed to the ground." He also said no charges were filed and that, when questioned, King could not recall the incident.
But lawyers John Raley and Robert Bowick told us that one witness -- a woman who appears in the video, helping King onto a stretcher -- told police a different version, but police were not interested. (The lawyers said they took the woman's statement but declined to release it today.)
After Houston police spoke with West Point officials, Raley said, King was booted out of the academy for one year and is required to serve as an enlisted man on active duty. He will likely be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Afterwards, King may apply for readmission to West Point and, if accepted, the earliest he could graduate is 2013, Raley said.
"All he remembers is talking on the phone to his brother, and then he was attacked," Raley said. He also said that the injuries from the attack prohibited him from playing football for the West Point team -- Raley said King was to be a starting defensive back.
We're still waiting to hear from LaBelle's people.
(Our original item:)
"Lady Marmalade" singer Patti LaBelle is a bloodthirsty she-demon, according to a lawsuit filed by a West Point cadet who says the golden-throated diva ordered her entourage to kick the holy hell out of him at Bush Intercontinental Airport last March.
Filed Wednesday in Harris County District Court, the suit by Richard C. King claims the future-second-lieutenant was waiting for his family in the passenger pickup area when LaBelle and her bodyguards, en route to a Louisiana gig, passed him on their way to a stretch limo and SUV.
"Apparently, Defendant LaBelle believed King was standing too close to her (no doubt expensive) luggage, even though he was oblivious to her presence and the danger he was in," according to the suit. (Note: Hair Balls' confidence is completely reinforced by the fact that a military man was completely oblivious to the fact that the Acid fucking Queen and a cadre of big burly bodygyuards walked right by him. Feelin' scared, al-Queda?)
In prose so purple it would make Mickey Spillane blush, the suit describes how the "violent, paid thugs" "pounced forward and swing their fists at [King's] face. He tried but was unable to block their punches. His head snapped back as he tried to back away from his assailants. At no time -- ever -- did King try to strike the Defendants, who lunged into him again....punching King in the face and body and knocking him backwards, eventually driving the back of his head into a concrete-and-stone pillar.
"His blood splattered the concrete and his clothes, then pooled beneath him as he lay helpless on his back, with a severe concussion. Defendant LaBelle's ruffians stood over him awhile, taunting him, then strutted away. At no time -- ever -- did Defendant LaBelle try to stop her personally hired hoodlums from attacking King,. She watched the vicious assault, with approval, from, her limousine." [Note to self: Create a Patti LaBelle tribute band called Defendant LaBelle's Ruffians.]
King suffered "a severe head injury, blood loss, and deep lacerations and contusions over his body," according to the suit.
But making things even worse, the suit alleges that one of the guards, Zuri Kye Edwards, accused King of starting things in the first place. "When questioned by Houston police officers, Defendants lied and conveyed defamatory information about King. They said, among other things that King assaulted and battered Defendant Edwards (perhaps injuring Edwards' fists with King's face) and that King even assaulted Defendant LaBelle. The Houston police officers conveyed this false and defamatory information to King's superiors at West Point. The amount of detriment to his military career caused by these false statements is still at issue."
Moreover, according to the suit, LaBelle took photos with the officers as they all stood "triumphantly over the pooled blood of King. "In addition to LaBelle's alleged responsibility for the attack, the suit names a taxi dispatcher and the airport itself, which is allegedly liable because it lacked the security to protect defenseless patrons from roving bands of sadistic R&B singers. (Whenever Hair Balls travels, we keep our eyes peeled for the especially brutal Chaka Kahn, as well as Roberta Flack, whose bloody bounty is known to include necklaces adorned with the severed ears of her prey.)
We're waiting to hear from King's attorneys, as well as LaBelle's agent in Pennsylvania. We just hope she doesn't get mad and cut us.