A young Louisiana woman is dead and the liquor license of the bar where she was last spotted has been suspended following a tragic series of events that began to play out on the morning of Jan. 15th.
That morning, Louisiana State University student Madi Brooks, 19, left Reggie’s Bar in the Tigerland district of Baton Rouge with Casen Carver, 18; Kaivon Washington, 18; Everett Lee, 27; and a 17-year-old unnamed minor, according to local station WVLA.
“According to affidavits, Brooks was unsteady on her feet as she left the bar with the men, who she did not know before that night. The men reportedly were going to give her a ride home,” WVLA reported on Monday.
“Carver, the driver, told deputies that when he asked her where she lived to take her home, she fell over and couldn’t answer. He said he stopped the car and parked a short distance from the bar,” the station added.
Washington and the minor then allegedly raped Brooks, after which they dropped her off nearby, and she wound up being hit by a car and killed.
Much has happened since Brooks’ death.
First, Reggie’s Bar, which reportedly has a history of serving drinks to underage customers, has had its liquor license suspended.
“The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will issue an emergency suspension of the liquor license of a Baton Rouge bar where authorities say an underage LSU sorority student was able to drink heavily before she was raped and fatally struck by a car,” station WWL reported.
“In a statement … ATC commissioner Ernest P. Legier Jr. said that the emergency suspension for Reggie’s Bar in Baton Rouge will be issued Tuesday ‘due to the seriousness of the allegations and the potential threat to public safety,'” the station added.
Reggie’s also has a history of bizarre things happening.
“The body of a man was found behind Reggie’s Bar suffering from a gunshot wound in May last year, and a LSU football player was stabbed during a fight in the bar in 2016. … A Covington man was also charged with rape after a woman was separated from her sisters on a night out in Reggie’s in 2015,” the Daily Mail notes.
Second, Washington and the 17-year-old have been charged with third-degree rape, while the other two suspects have been charged with principal to rape.
Third, Washington and the 17-year-old tried to preemptively defeat their rape charge by sharing with the court video footage which they claimed proved the sex was consensual.
Their attorney, Ron Haley, said the video “shows Madison Brooks was in a coherent state and knew what was happening the entire time,” as reported by station WAFB.
“Can you tell, that she was intoxicated, yes. 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,” Haley said.
“Absolutely not a rape. Listen this is a tragedy, definitely not a crime,” he added.
As to why the four left Brooks in the middle of nowhere, Haley claimed an argument broke out between her and the driver.
“Based on a disagreement, she got out of the vehicle. She indicated she was getting an Uber. 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,” he said.
The video footage shared with the court wound up not convincing 19th Judicial District Judge Brad Myers.
“He noted the video showed the suspects ‘callously’ laughing as the young student slurred her words inside of the car, but does not show the assault. Myers says he also reviewed video from Reggie’s Bar near LSU which showed the student stumbling, falling over, and needing help standing prior to the sexual encounter,” according to WAFB.
“Defense lawyers hoped the videos would prove that the sexual encounter was consensual. Instead, Myers said the video combined by statements investigators say they obtained from Carver about the student’s behavior at the time was enough to convince him that a crime had occurred,” WAFB reported.
“The evidence to me is clear,” the judge said.
And indeed, the judge may have a point.
For example, the arrest documents “say that the driver thought the girl was too drunk to consent, telling deputies, ‘I guess she was,'” according to WAFB.
In addition, Brooks’ blood alcohol level was reportedly four times the legal limit when the authorities found her.
In a statement to WVLA, Family medicine Dr. Ronald Andrews said that consent is nearly impossible to give at such a high level.
Dovetailing back to Reggie’s Bar, this isn’t the first time its liquor license has been suspended.
“The liquor license for a popular bar was suspended … as authorities investigate possible underage drinking and rowdy behavior around the establishment,” station WBRZ reported in 2017.
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