Baton Rouge Police Department Chief DeWayne White and Sgt. Don Stone addressed the media Tuesday afternoon at a press conference concerning the four LSU players involved in an off-campus bar fight late last week.
“The four players came in with their attorney, sat down and gave statements with our investigators. Their attorney was present with them the entire time. We believe that these interviews were very productive. As a result of these interviews, we have obtained some additional information, some witness information that we’re going to need to follow up on.”
“It was never our intention to arrest the four football players when they came in this morning. It was strictly voluntary and we asked them to come in and give statements, and that’s what they did.”
“We are still conducting the investigation, and there’s a good chance when the investigation is over that arrests will be made.”
Chief White also addressed the media adding more details to Tuesday’s meeting.
“They were quite gracious. They came in this morning willingly. They gave their statements willingly. They were mirandized. They were interviewed separately. This is not the conclusion of this case. This is just a part of this case and a continuance of this case until we find all the facts….This case is far from over.”
After making the opening statement, Sgt. Stone said he would not get into the specific facts of the case andfielded questions. Here is a breakdown of how he and Chief White answered.
On the new evidence provided to BRPD:
Stone: “We did receive some additional information that we feel is very important and that we need to look in to it before we conclude our case. And that was the whole reason why we requested to have those four gentlemen come in and talk to us. There’s two sides to every story. They have their sides and they have their witnesses, and we want to interview those witnesses as well as the witnesses on behalf of the four injured parties.”
White: “We do have some video evidence, but I don’t want to comment on that right now.”
On whether they will talk to any more football players:
Stone: “That’s a possibility. Football players’ names were mentioned today. Of course the four football players that were there provided us with some additional information and persons to talk to and several of those are LSU football players.”
On when the investigation might conclude:
Stone: “That is unknown. It could go on for another week to 10 days possibly. It just depends on the availability of the witnesses that we have yet to talk to and any new evidence that may surface at that time.”
On whether suspects could be potentially charged with simple battery or second-degree battery:
Stone: “That is very much still a possibility.”
On why it is believed that arrests could be made in this case:
Stone: “Of course, we have physical evidence of people who have been beaten and medical reports. And of course, we do have outstanding charges that at this time, I know there’s a lot of confusion as to have charges been filed. We are looking at charging someone with simple battery and or second-degree battery. If the evidence supports the allegations made against these four individuals, the football players or anyone else that may come up, yes, someone will be charged.”
On the specific injuries sustained during the fight:
White: “We have an individual that has three fractured vertebrae. The other one has some contusions on the head, the nose and his hands, both right and left hand. But I don’t want to speculate on the injuries to the hand. We’re looking into that. We are asking for professional medical examiners opinion as to how these injuries may have occurred. Whether they were caused by fistic encounter or were they caused by the individual trying to shield himself from further harm.”
“It’s our hope and our aim that we are able to gather enough evidence that would support us obtaining an arrest warrant and charging someone in this case.
On the rumors of racial slurs being made:
White: “There was nothing brought out in today’s statements by the LSU football players that a racial slur was brought out.”
White: “Let me just clear this up. Right now, we have conflicting statements. We have conflicting statements from parties at the scene. We have conflicting statements that support one version over the version of the LSU players. What we don’t have is we don’t have a version of an objective third party that has absolutely that has no ties to either party involved in this incident. And we don’t have conclusive video evidence that will support either claim. So, until we are able to sift through the evidence, sift through the statements and arrive at the truth, that may take some time.”
Was one of the four players in question not involved?
White: “No one is cleared of any of the allegations. The investigation is still on-going, and until we interview these additional witnesses and until we examine the trace evidence that we have, the physical evidence that we have and maybe even additional evidence that we hope to obtain to arrive at some type of conclusion, this case is still on-going.”
How many witnesses?
White: “Unfortunately the number seems to grow, but I believe we have at least a dozen more witnesses that can provide some statement or have some relevant facts or some facts relevant to this case.”
Stone: “We will continue our investigation based on the information they (LSU football players) gave us today, interviewing witnesses, and we are still pretty much on a fact-finding mission at this point right now.”