Police: LSU players cooperating in probe of bar fight
BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three teammates met Tuesday with investigators looking into a bar fight that injured four people, and police say they were cooperative.
"They did not invoke the fifth amendment. They gave their side of the story," Baton Rouge police chief Dewayne White said. "They provided additional witnesses they knew were there that night, and those were witnesses we intend to run down and get their statement."
The most seriously injured victim has three broken vertebrae, White said. There have been no arrests and no charges have been filed, but White stressed that police hope to gather enough evidence to arrest whoever is responsible for the victims' injuries.
If arrests are made, charges could range from misdemeanor simple battery to felony second-degree battery, Sgt. Don Stone said.
Jefferson, offensive lineman Chris Davenport, linebacker Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry were interviewed separately at State Police headquarters during a span of several hours.
Since being named as people of interest in the fight Thursday night, the four players have hired defense attorney Nathan Fisher. He attended the meetings with police along with his associate, Shannon Fay.
"We gave police as many names of (bar) employees as we knew," Fisher said by phone after the meetings. "It comes down to, they have to do their investigation and we have to do ours, and we have offered to share our information with them."
The fight occurred in the parking lot of a bar called Shady's on the edge of campus.
Fisher declined to discuss the alleged version of events at the bar, saying only that he has obtained video that shows "four separate incidents" related to the fight, three of which occurred outside the bar and one inside. Police have said the fight erupted after a driver honked his horn at a group of people standing in the parking lot. The driver also was one of the people involved in the fight.
Fourth-ranked LSU opens its season on Oct. 3 against No. 3 Oregon at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
While Davenport, Johns and Landry are reserves and were not expected to play much in the season opener, Jefferson was expected to start. If he cannot play, fellow senior Jarrett Lee likely would start behind center, with junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger next in line.
Police, meanwhile, said they could not predict how long the investigation may take, but they were not optimistic it would be wrapped up soon.
"Until we're able to sift through the evidence, sift through the statements and arrive at the truth, that may take some time," White said. "Will we give fast results? We will not, because it doesn't work like that."
Police have video from the scene, White said, but it does not show the fight itself.
White said police also still need to find more "objective" witnesses.
"Right now we have conflicting statements from parties at the scene. We have conflicting statements that support one version over the version of the LSU players," White said. "What we don't have is a version of an objective third party that has absolutely no ties to either party involved in this incident, and we don't have conclusive video evidence that would support either claim."
The four victims, who were not football players, were treated at a hospital and released.
White said one of the victims had contusions on his head, nose and hands, although it was not clear whether the hand injuries were from throwing punches or trying to protect oneself.
The chief also said witnesses have described in excess of 20 LSU players at the scene, and that police intend to interview some of them as well. "This case is far from over," White said. "We owe it to (those injured in the fight) and each and every citizen of the City of Baton Rouge to do whatever necessary to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. ... Whether we will have sufficient evidence to do that, that's yet to be seen. It's our hope and our aim that we are able to gather enough evidence to support obtaining an arrest warrant and charging someone in this case."