The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bar where slain LSU student Madison Brooks and the four men charged with crimes against her were allegedly drinking is under fire, with a university official announcing: “It is time for action.”
“She should not have been taken from us in this way,” LSU President William F. Tate IV wrote in a recent statement. “What happened to her was evil, and our legal system will parcel out justice.”
Brooks, a 19-year-old sophomore, died after she was hit by a car in the early morning hours of Jan. 15 in East Baton Rouge Parish. Four people, including a minor, have been charged in connection with events prior to her death.
LSU STUDENT MADISON BROOKS CASE: FOUR PEOPLE CHARGED IN ALLEGED RAPE BEFORE SHE DIED AFTER BEING HIT BY CAR
Specifically, the 17-year-old, who has not been identified, and 18-year-old Kaivon Deondre Washington were charged with third-degree rape. Two others, Everett Deonte Lee, 28, and 18-year-old Casen Carver, were charged with being principles to third-degree rape.
In Louisiana, third-degree rape involves sexual intercourse that “is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim,” according to state law.
An LSU spokesperson confirmed that none of the four suspects were university students.
In a statement released by the university on Monday, Tate wrote that Brooks “was an amazing young woman with limitless potential.”
“Our collective grief and outrage cannot be put into mere words. So what can we do? It is time for action,” he went on. “One place to target our attention is the very place where this encounter began.”
Documents related to the four arrests describe how the suspects and the victim had been drinking alcohol at a bar on Bob Pettit Boulevard, called Reggie’s, located roughly one mile from LSU campus. Tate did not specifically name Reggie’s in the statement.
Reggie’s did not immediately respond to G3 Box News Digital’s message seeking comment.
Baton Rouge police officers and sheriff’s deputies were seen at Reggie’s on Tuesday afternoon.
Ernest Legier, Jr., commissioner for the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, told G3 Box News Digital that alcohol sales at Reggie’s have been suspended.
“The Louisiana ATC is working with Baton Rouge ABC and local law enforcement to investigate and share evidence regarding recent incidents at this establishment. Due to the seriousness of the allegations and the potential threat to public safety, an emergency suspension will be issued today,” Legier said. “This action immediately suspends the service or sale of alcoholic beverages at this location. An emergency hearing will be held next month to determine what penalties (if any) should be imposed following a presentation of the evidence.”
The four men left the bar with the victim, according to police records. Carver allegedly told police Brooks “asked for a ride home.” “[H]e admitted that he agreed to give her the ride because he did not want to leave her while very intoxicated and the bar was closing.”
Carver drove the vehicle, while Lee sat in the front passenger seat, Carver told police. Washington and the minor suspect sat in the back seat with Brooks, according to the police documents. Carver told police both Washington and the 17-year-old asked Brooks multiple times “if she wanted to have sex,” the affidavit states. He said she consented to Washington and the 17-year-old but added that “he thought the victim was ‘drunker’ and her speech was slurred,” according to the affidavit.
NEW ORLEANS CLOSES 2022 WITH SKY-HIGH HOMICIDE RATE NOT SEEN IN DECADES: ‘HORRIFIC’
He told police he and Lee were still in the vehicle at the time of the sex acts, the affidavit states, but that “he felt uncomfortable and he ‘hated it,’” the document adds.
“During the interview, the co-defendant (Carver) was asked if the victim was too impaired to consent to the sexual intercourse and he replied, ‘I guess,’” the document continues.
In his Monday statement, Tate wrote that three of the four suspects were underage, “yet were able to consume alcohol at a local bar.” Brooks was also underage.
“As such, our action plan starts with a deep and relentless focus on any establishment that profits off our students by providing alcohol to underage individuals,” he wrote. “In the coming days, we will call a meeting with these business owners to discuss how their responsibilities directly impact the safety of our students.”
Tate added: “We will work openly against any business that doesn’t join us in efforts toward creating a safer environment for our students. Enough is enough.”
Police records show Brooks had a blood-alcohol content of 0.319% at the time of her death.
Attorney Ronald Haley, who is representing two of the suspects, said video showed Brooks “willfully got into the car,” according to FOX 8.
“Absolutely not a rape,” he said. “Listen, this is a tragedy, definitely not a crime.”
He acknowledged that Brooks appeared intoxicated, according to the report.
“To the point under the law that you say you’re in a drunken stupor, to the point that you cannot lawfully give consent or answer questions? Absolutely that was not the case,” he said.
Haley further added that Brooks got out of the vehicle after an argument with the driver.
“She indicated she was getting an Uber,” Haley said. “I want the public to know, these young men or really the driver of the vehicle and the young men that were in there, did not put her off on the side of the road.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE G3 Box News APP
Carver’s attorney, Joseph Long, told Nola.com what happened to Brooks “was tragedy, but not a crime.”
Long added: “When all the evidence is known, everyone will see this was not a crime.”
G3 Box News Digital’s Landon Mion contributed to this report.