HOUSTON (CN) - A West Point cadet claims Patti LaBelle ordered her bodyguards to beat him senseless as he was "minding his own business" at a Houston airport - because the pop singer thought he was standing too close to her luggage. After she watched her "paid thugs" beat him, the cadet says, LaBelle stood "triumphantly" over his "pooled blood," for photographs.
Richard King says he was "in a completely public area, minding his own business," and "focusing on his telephone conversation" at the Houston airport, waiting for his family to pick him up after he arrived home on March 11, on spring break from West Point.
"Apparently, 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," King says in his complaint in Harris County Court. "LaBelle lowered the window of her limousine and gave a command to her body guards. They sprang into action."
King says LaBelle "watched the vicious assault, with approval, from her limousine" as her "paid thugs" punched his face and knocked his head into a concrete pillar.
"First they shoved King back violently. He still had his telephone in his hand, trying to have a conversation. They pounced forward and swung their fists at his face. He tried but was unable to block their punches. His head snapped back as he tried to back away from the assailants. At no time - ever - did King try to strike the defendants, who lunged into him again, this time accompanied by Jane Doe, swinging and punching King in the face and body and knocking him backwards, eventually driving the back of his head into 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 a while, taunting him, then strutted away. At no time - ever - did defendant LaBelle try to stop her personally hired hoodlums from attacking King."
"LaBelle is hot-tempered herself, and has a reputation for both inciting and participating in acts of violence in public," the complaint states. "She ordered it, and never tried to stop it. Defendant LaBelle did not emerge from her limousine until after King was being taken away by ambulance. By that time, the Houston police had arrived. Apparently deciding that a little bit of public relations was in order, defendant LaBelle stepped out of her limousine and smiled for photographs with Houston police officers, standing triumphantly over the pooled blood of King."
King says he suffered a severe head injury, blood loss, deep lacerations and contusions from the attack.
He also says LaBelle and her entourage lied to Houston police and defamed him, falsely claiming that he had assaulted 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," according to the complaint.
King seeks punitive damages from LaBelle aka Patricia Edwards, her son/bodyguard Zuri Edwards, and her other bodyguards involved in the incident, Efren Holme, and Jane Doe. He alleges assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and defamation.
King also sued George HW Bush Intercontinental Airport, for premises liability.
He is represented by Houston attorney John Raley.