Hillsborough County

Attorney for Chris Brown says singer wrongfully accused in Tampa battery case

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Singer Chris Brown was not in court Thursday morning for his arraignment on a battery charge, but his attorney was and told WFLA that Brown was "wrongfully accused" in the 2017 case.

Kevin Napper appeared before a judge on behalf of his client.  It took all of two minutes.

Brown, 29, was arrested several weeks ago in Palm Beach County on a warrant for an incident that allegedly happened in Tampa's Channel District on April 17, 2017.

He entered a written plea of not guilty.

A Tampa Police Department spokesperson said that Bennie Loius Vines, 28, of Tampa had been hired to take photos at an event at Club Aja. 

Vines told police that Brown sat near him and that Brown motioned to Vines to move away.  Vines told police he moved away and attempted to tell Brown that he was hired to take pictures of the crowd.

Vines and witnesses said Brown then approached Vines, assumed a fighting stance, and punched Vines' upper lip.  Brown and his entourage then left the nightclub. 

Vines told News Channel 8 that Brown hit him so hard, his lip broke open and he hit his head on the wall.

He was treated at Brandon Hospital and said he planned to sue the singer.  He has since hired an attorney.

Tampa police detectives investigated the incident and sent the case to the State Attorney's Office. An arrest warrant was issued on August 11, 2017.

Brown's record of violence includes a guilty plea to felony assault for beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 and a 2016 arrest on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Brown is due in court again on October 4, but Napper said Brown waived his appearance for that hearing.

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