The 25-year-old Brit was standing in the baggage claim area with his model girlfriend Eleanor Calder when the incident took place, according to TMZ.
Reports suggest Louis pulled a paparazzo, who was standing too close to the couple, to the ground. The cameraman fell backwards and hit his head on the floor.
Louis' girlfriend also allegedly clashed with a female witness, who was recording the model, although it's not clear if Calder was taken into custody by police. After the alleged altercations, both the injured photographer and the unnamed female made citizens arrests before police arrived on the scene.
Tomlinson was handcuffed and booked at a nearby Los Angeles Police Department jail on battery charges.
Louis' lawyer, Martin Singer, issued a statement on Saturday (04Mar17) insisting his client acted in self-defence.
"The paparazzi provoked and caused the altercation that occurred with Louis," Singer writes. "It's not the first time that a paparazzi has created an altercation with a celebrity. While the altercation was going on with the paparazzi, three other individuals were attacking his girlfriend during this incident and he came to her defense."
Tomlinson has been released from jail and a court hearing has been scheduled for 29 March (17).