A brush with the law two years ago seems to have been a blessing in disguise for Shia LaBeouf.
The 33-year-old actor was honored with a screenwriting award for his autobiographical film “Honey Boy” at the Hollywood Film Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, and during his acceptance speech, he thanked the police officer who arrested him in Savannah, Georgia in 2017, pointing to the incident as a pivotal moment in his life, PEOPLE reports.
“I want to thank the police officer who arrested me in Georgia for changing my life,” LaBeouf said.
The “Transformers” actor made headlines in July 2017 when he was arrested and charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness. LaBeouf, who was filming “The Peanut Butter Falcon” at the time, allegedly approached a stranger and a police officer in the early morning hours on July 8 to ask for a cigarette, and became belligerent when he wasn’t given one, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department said, according to CNN. Police said that LaBeouf fled to a nearby hotel after the officer tried to take him into custody, but authorities were able to catch up with him in the lobby of the hotel, where he was ultimately arrested.
Bodycam footage of LaBeouf’s arrest was later published online, and shows the actor’s profanity-laden tirade against authorities. LaBeouf — who police said was being “disorderly” and using “profanities and vulgar language in front of the women and children present” — was seen on video calling one officer a “f—cking b—tch” and calling another a “dumb f—k,” Variety reports.
“They’ve got cameras everywhere, you dummy,” LaBeouf said during the video, which was published by TMZ. “I’ve got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with, you stupid b—tch.”
In accordance with a plea deal, LaBeouf pleaded guilty to the obstruction charge and no contest to the charge of disorderly conduct, with prosecutors dropping the public drunkenness charge, according to the Associated Press. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to attend anger management counseling, in addition to submitting to a drug and alcohol evaluation, the outlet reports.
LaBeouf later publicly apologized for his behavior and acknowledged his struggle with sobriety, according to Variety.
“My outright disrespect for authority is problematic to say the least, and completely destructive to say the worst,” his statement reads. “It is a new low. A low I hope is a bottom. I have been struggling with addiction publicly for far too long, and I am actively taking steps toward securing my sobriety and hope I can be forgiven for my mistakes.”
It was in rehab that LaBeouf wrote the script for “Honey Boy,” an autobiographical film about an abused child actor, in which LaBeouf plays the role based on his own father, according to PEOPLE.
While accepting his screenwriting award on Sunday, LaBeouf not only gave a shout-out to the officer who arrested him, but went on to thank “my therapist and my sponsor for saving my life,” as well as his parents “for giving me life,” PEOPLE reports.
The Savannah Police Department took to Facebook on Monday to acknowledged LaBeouf’s gratitude, writing, “We take our kudos where we can get them!”
“Congrats on the award, Shia!” they continued later. “We hope this didn't scare you away from Savannah.”
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