Is Woody Harrelson a natural born choker?
The answer is yes, according to one shutterbug.
The Los Angeles Police Department has initiated an investigation into allegations made by a paparazzo, who claims he was assaulted by the Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated actor outside a Hollywood nightclub Thursday night.
An LAPD spokeswoman told E! Online Thursday that the case was being investigated after the photographer, Josh Levine, filed an assault report.
Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney, said the probe is still ongoing, but investigators could bring charges as early as Friday.
Levine, who was covering a fashion premiere at the Element Club for the online celebrity site TMZ.com, claims the 44-year-old Harrelson became enraged after Levine began shooting photos and video as Harrelson and his five-person entourage made their way to the hotspot.
Per the police report, Harrelson asked Levine to stop tailing him, prompting the photographer to reply, "Can't help it, man. You're just so sexy."
Harrelson confronted Levine and alleged grapped his hand that was clutching the camera.
Levine said, "All I'm doing is my job."
To which Harrelson responded: "Will you stop doing it, please?"
At that point, according to the police complaint, "the victim asked the suspect to release his camera, stating 'Hey, bro, let go of my camera.' Suspect replied, 'Stop filming me,' and broke the victim's camera viewfinder with his right hand."
The report states that Levine then pulled out a compact digital still camera and began snapping shots of Harrelson manhandling his camera. Harrelson finally released him, but not before apparently grabbing Levine's neck "in an attempt to choke the victim."
TMZ.com posted video from another angle that shows Harrelson with his hand around the back of Levine's neck, but it's unclear if he's choking the photographer. After the altercation, Harrelson let go and walked away, while a bodyguard prevented the paparazzo from following.
According to the TMZ.com video, after the incident, Levine flagged down a police cruiser and said, "Hey, bro, I just got assaulted by Woody Harrelson. He just choked me out right now."
But the officers apparently had little sympathy for the shutterbug. The squad car drove off without taking a report. Levine went to the nearest police station, the Hollywood division, and filed his allegations. Then he went to the hospital for minor abrasions on his neck and was quickly discharged.
Harrelson's publicist, Ina Treciokas, blamed Levine for instigating.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first or last time the paparazzi have provoked an incident with a celebrity," she told E! Online. "Mr. Harrelson is evaluating all of his legal options against the photographer."
Two weeks ago in a similar confrontation, photographer Anthony Goodrich filed a police report against Bruce Willis, accusing the Die Hard star of assaulting him outside a trendy Los Angeles eatery when he shoved his camera into his face, chipping a tooth. Willis fired back with a defamation lawsuit seeking at least $1 million in damages.
As for Harrelson, he is currently in theaters in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion and appears in Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, opening Friday. Last month, Harrelson and his wife also welcomed their third child, a daughter named Makani Ravello.