Rule of thumb. If you're ever lucky enough to run into Patti LaBelle at the airport, make sure you give her enough space or be prepared to face her 'New Attitude.' The latter appears to have been the fate of a 23-year-old West Point cadet, who is reportedly now suing LaBelle following an alleged assault by her body guards in March.
ABC News reports that Richard King was standing next to LaBelle's luggage in the passenger pickup area outside George HW Bush intercontinental airport in Houston when LaBelle ordered her bodyguards to confront him.
"Apparently, defendant LaBelle believed King was standing too close to her luggage, even though he was oblivious to her presence and the danger he was in," the lawsuit states. "LaBelle lowered the window of her limousine and gave a command to her bodyguards. They sprang into action ... LaBelle is hot-tempered ... [and] was a full participant in the cruel attack on King. She ordered it, and never tried to stop it."
The suit went on to say that the Grammy Award-winner watched the vicious assault take place from the comfort of her limo.
King's lawyers released a surveillance video (see below) showing him being punched and thrown into a nearby pillar before fleeing the scene. King was reportedly sent by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
"I remember waking up the next morning with staples in my head," he said. "I've never been in a fight in my life." According to a police report, King smelled of alcohol at the time of the incident. His lawyer confirmed that he had consumed a few cocktails on the flight to Houston but was not impaired.
King is suing LaBelle, three of her entourage, a taxi dispatcher and the airport for unspecified actual and punitive damages. LaBelle's team was unavailable for comment.