The incident occurred just before midnight on Friday evening when paparazzi encircled Tomlinson near a baggage carousel at the airport, where he had landed with a girlfriend after a flight from Las Vegas, People magazine reported. One of the photographers fell and claimed to be hurt, the magazine said, citing a police report.
The 25-year-old singer was then placed under “citizen’s arrest,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s website shows.
Tomlinson is one of four members of the chart-topping pop group also known as 1D, known for its wholesome image and polished pop harmonies that appeal to a teenage audience. Its hit singles include “What Makes You Beautiful”, “Live While We’re Young”, and “Story of My Life.”
Tomlinson was not at fault in the row, according to entertainment lawyer Martin Singer, who represents him.
“The paparazzi provoked and caused the altercation that occurred with Louis,” he said in a statement. “While the altercation was going on with the paparazzi, three other individuals were attacking his girlfriend during this incident.”
Neither the lawyer or police officials responded immediately to a request for further information.
Tomlinson was booked on misdemeanor battery charges and released on $20,000 bail, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s website shows. He was scheduled to appear in court on March 29.
(Reporting by Frank McGurty in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)