Coldplay singer Chris Martin allegedly shoved and kicked a photographer on Wednesday night in the Knightsbridge area of London, knocking the man to the ground.
The next day, Alessandro Copetti, who shoots for the Matrix photo agency, filed a common assault complaint against Martin with plans to sue in civil court for psychological and economic damage. A police spokesperson said Copetti received minor cuts and scratches and that a formal statement will be taken "in due course."
"Hopefully this time he's going to pay for what he did, because this behavior is not acceptable from celebrities," Copetti said Friday morning. "If photographers behaved like that, I don't think we would be walking free in the city."
The altercation occurred after Martin and wife Gwyneth Paltrow had dinner at San Lorenzo, a popular Italian restaurant. Copetti said he waited 45 minutes for the couple to finish eating, then the seven-month-pregnant Paltrow came out while Martin waited inside.
"She was on the arm of the owner of the restaurant," Copetti said. "She had her face covered with a big scarf. She looked -- not even like a Taliban woman because they've got their eyes out -— she was completely covered. But we are used to this because she has done this before."
Once Paltrow reached a cab, Copetti said, Martin exited the restaurant, charging like a bull when he spotted the photographer. "I've got pictures of him looking really mad, coming straight at me like he was possessed by some strange power," Copetti said. "He crashed into me, pushing my camera towards the cab. Then he pushed me against the cab with his shoulder and said, 'Sorry, I tripped.' He was trying to be funny and clever. I told him, 'Well, you've been clever again. Fine, good of you.' And I thought that was it."
Paltrow climbed into the car, but Martin didn't join her. Instead, Copetti said, the singer closed the door and walked behind the car, which slowly drove away. Copetti, camera in hand, followed, hoping Martin would jump in the car and he could take photos of the couple together. Then the cab slowed for a red light, Paltrow took off her scarf, and Copetti sprinted toward the car to get a clear shot of Paltrow. As he ran, Martin allegedly kicked Copetti in the back of the legs, causing him to fall in the street.
"It was a very dangerous and stupid thing to do because I could have fallen against a lamp post and hit my head or been run over by a car," Copetti said. "He kept walking and was looking over his shoulder at me like I was a piece of dirt. And he was making fun of me, saying, 'Oh, sorry, mate. You were in my way. Sorry you tripped.'"
Copetti is seeking a public apology. He also wants cash, but not for his cuts and bruises or damaged equipment. "I'm not seeking money for fake injuries or anything," he said. "It's psychological and economic injuries [that I have suffered]. Now, every time I have to shoot him, I need to hire someone to go with me. Also, I was really upset and shaken, and I need to be able to carry on with my life and my job without thinking, 'What's going to happen now? Are they going to punch me? Are they going to kick me?'"
A North American spokesperson for Coldplay didn't return calls, but a U.K. rep told the BBC that Martin was just looking out for Paltrow. "Naturally enough for a man whose wife is heavily pregnant with her first child, Chris' sole concern was to ensure that Gwyneth got into the cab safely and was not impeded or harassed in any way." The spokesperson insisted that Copetti tripped while chasing Paltrow's car and was not kicked.
In a similar incident last July, Martin was charged with malicious damage in Australia after smashing the windshield of a photographer who shot Martin surfing. The charge was later dropped.