Injured men may file civil suits
The Baton Rouge Police Department will not make any more arrests in the brawl at Shady’s bar involving LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, a police spokesman said Thursday.
Sgt. Donald Stone said the department closed the case after Jefferson’s indictment Wednesday by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on a misdemeanor simple battery charge.
The grand jury also chose to issue a “no true bill” for sophomore linebacker Joshua Johns, meaning grand jurors did not find enough probable cause to charge Johns.
LSU football coach Les Miles reinstated Jefferson and Johns on Wednesday after the ruling.
The two were suspended from the team after they were booked into Parish Prison on Aug. 26 on felony simple battery counts for their alleged involvement in the Aug. 19 brawl.
Attorney Michael P. Bienvenu, who represents the four men injured in the fight, said Thursday he would have liked to have seen more arrests made earlier in the investigation.
“The fact of the matter is, there are several people that were involved,” he said, referring to a police report about the fight that says as many as 15 people were involved in the fray.
However, Bienvenu had little comment on the Police Department closing the case.
Bienvenu said he and his clients agree with the grand jury’s decision to indict Jefferson.
“It simply vindicates what my clients have said all along that Mr. Jefferson kicked someone in the head,” Bienvenu said.
A simple-battery conviction carries penalties of up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Bienvenu said his clients will file a civil suit sometime after the criminal proceedings end. He did not identify who the defendants would be in the suit.
“There are several potential parties,” Bienvenu said.
Tommy Damico, Johns’ lawyer, said Wednesday he has no plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Jefferson and Johns testified Wednesday before the grand jury.
The grand jury also heard testimony on Sept. 21 from police officers, bar employees and other eyewitnesses, along with several people injured in the brawl.
Jefferson and Johns told police they were not involved in the altercation, according to affidavits of probable causes.
Police searched Jefferson’s and Johns’ homes, taking shoes and DNA swabs after witnesses said the pair kicked people in the head during the melee.
The fight at Shady’s bar on 623 E. Boyd Drive, started when a man in a truck blew the horn to try to clear a crowd in the bar’s parking lot, police have said.
The situation escalated to a fight, and four men, none of whom are members of the LSU football team, were treated at a hospital for injuries, police have said.
Andrew Lowery, 21, the only injured man to be identified, told police that Jefferson and Johns were among a group of people who attacked him outside Shady’s, according to police reports.
Bienvenu said Thursday that Lowery and two other men injured in the fracas have healed, but the man who suffered cracked vertebrate is still recovering.
“He’s limited in what he can do,” Bienvenu said.