Bar fight accounts conflict
Witnesses to last week’s bar fight involving LSU football players gave differing accounts Thursday of what took place Aug. 19 and how it started, with one woman telling police she saw senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson kick a man in the face.
Police released its initial report Thursday morning from the fight scene.
It consists of accounts from witness Victoria Long, a second unnamed witness and Andrew Lowery, one of the men beaten in the fight.
The police report did not include any statements from LSU players.
Another report also surfaced late Thursday night in which The Associated Press said that Lowery “threw the first punch” shortly after he had been escorted outside by the staff of Shady’s, a bar on East Boyd Drive, according to John Peak, general manager, and Jordan Neldare, door manager.
Long, 19, of Denham Springs, told officers she also saw LSU sophomore Josh Johns, 21, attack Lowery, and that several other LSU players were present at the fight, the police report said.
Long also told police she saw other people involved in the fight who were wearing official LSU football shirts, which led her to believe they were players, the report says.
Lowery, 21, the man that Long said Jefferson kicked in the face, gave police the same account, the report says.
Lowery told officers he got involved in the brawl after seeing several football players pull a man out of a black Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, the report says.
Lowery told officers the players then began to beat the man, the report says.
That’s when Lowery said he intervened and managed to pull the man from the crowd and back into the truck, the report says.
The players — including Jefferson and Johns — then turned on Lowery, kicking and punching him several times before getting into a silver vehicle and leaving the scene, the report says.
Employees come forward
Shady’s employees Peak and Neldare, however, told The Associated Press their versions of the fight differ from the police report.
The bar employees say Lowery threw the first punch, “that’s one thing we do know.”
Neldare said he was outside and witnessed the fight firsthand, but had not yet been interviewed by police.
Both bar employees said Lowery was asked to leave the bar about 1:30 a.m. when he appeared to be harassing a young woman.
Lowery did not challenge Neldare and two other staff members who confronted him, but within minutes of walking into the parking lot, he was in the midst of the fight, the bar employees said.
“What we do know is that Lowery threw the first punch,” said Peak, who has interviewed his staff about what happened. “That’s one thing we do know and we will attest to — and he had been kicked out of the bar.”
Neldare added, “I’m not saying (Jefferson) wasn’t in the fight. I’m not saying he was, but I did see him standing alone while stuff was still going on.”
Before the fight erupted outside, Peak and Neldare said Jefferson and other teammates had been inside for a couple of hours and that there was no sign of trouble from players.
Peak and Neldare also noted that while Lowery was apparently arguing with the woman inside the bar, Jefferson walked past them as if he did not notice either Lowery or the woman. Jefferson walked outside shortly before Lowery left.
The employees’ accounts of what happened inside were captured on security video, the AP said.
“When we were escorting Lowery out, you can see Jefferson right there and he has nothing to do with it,” said Peak, who did not see what happened in the parking lot outside the club. “He doesn’t look at (Lowery). He doesn’t say a word. He acted like he didn’t even know who they were.”
Long has told police the fight began because the man in the pickup truck yelled for someone to move a vehicle that was blocking his, the police report says.
Neldare, however, said fighting involving Lowery had already begun when the truck pulled up sharply to the edge of the melee.
“That truck stopped right in the middle of the whole altercation,” he said.
Neldare said he had gotten a good look at the beginning of the fight after jumping in the back of a co-worker’s pickup truck to get a better view, but his attention was diverted when he saw a fellow employee walking toward the fracas.
Neldare told The Associated Press he ran to the co-worker and corralled him away from the brawl, back toward the bar entrance, where he then noticed Jefferson, standing by himself and looking upset while the fight was still taking place.
Long said that after being attacked and before leaving, the man driving the truck threatened the crowd with a gun he said he had in his truck, according to the report.
Long never saw a gun, the report says.
The report does not address the issue of the gun beyond what Long said. It is not known whether a gun was found or existed.
Police received a call about the incident just after 1:30 a.m., the report says. When they arrived at Shady’s no one involved in the fight was there.
Another unidentified witness told police that people involved might have gone to Reggie’s Bar on Bob Petit Drive after the fight, the report says.
The officer went to Reggie’s but did not find anyone involved in the altercation, the report says. When the officer returned to Shady’s, Lowery was present and gave the officer his account.
The officer stated in his report that Lowery’s face was swollen, had several bruises, and he had blood on his shirt.
Lowery initially declined medical attention after being interviewed by police but went to a hospital after talking to his father about the incident, the report says.
Lowery, contacted by phone Thursday morning, had no comment.
Long could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Lowery and three men, none of whom are LSU players, were treated at a hospital for minor injuries, police have said. The other men’s names have not been released.
Of those injured, one man had three fractured vertebrae and another man was knocked unconscious, police have said.
Attorneys give views
Lowery is a Marine and is the man who was knocked unconscious and suffered contusions to his head, nose and hands, his attorney Michael P. Bienvenu said Thursday.
“In reviewing the incident report released by the Baton Rouge Police Department, it is clear that Mr. Lowery simply intervened in this situation as a good Samaritan,” Bienvenu said. “What he did was courageous and quite frankly if he had not intervened who knows what sort of case we’d be talking about today.”
Bienvenu said his clients were all interviewed Saturday morning after the fight.
“The people responsible for these injuries need to face justice. Period,” Bienvenu said.
Bienvenu also said he has obtained a longer version of the bar fight video. He said it shows Lowery being kicked in the head by someone.
Bienvenu said the man who was pulled out of the truck was picking up a friend from Shady’s that night.
He said the two men in the truck had been to Shady’s earlier that evening but were not there “immediately preceding the incident.”
Police searched Jefferson’s off-campus apartment Wednesday, seizing 49 pairs of tennis shoes, including the ones he was wearing during the fight, police said.
Police also obtained DNA from Jefferson, 21, during the search of his Nicholson Drive apartment for evidence into his alleged involvement in the fight, police said.
In addition to Jefferson and Johns, two other LSU football players have been implicated — freshman Jarvis Landry, 18 and sophomore Chris Davenport, 21.
Baton Rouge attorney Nathan Fisher is representing the players, who have been interviewed by police.
Fisher said Thursday that he has not seen the police report.
“I obviously am not going to discuss something I know nothing about,” Fisher said.
Police Chief Dewayne White has said investigators have conflicting statements from people they have interviewed about the fight and that they have not yet talked to anyone from a third party.
Police said it is still possible that the four non-players involved in the fight might have criminal charges filed against them.
Advocate sports writer Scott Rabalais and Associated Press sports writer Brett Martel contributed to this report.