Alabama fan accused of assaulting LSU fan in viral video arrested

Sexual battery and obscenity charges filed

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 11:06pm

UPDATE 10:38 p.m.: Brian Downing, 32, of Smiths Station, Ala., arrived in New Orleans around 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.  He is in custody of the New Orleans Police Department and has been charged with one count of sexual battery and one count of obscenity.

Associated Press photo

Officers in NOPD's sex crimes division met up with Downing at the home of his New Orleans-based attorney in the Mid-City neighborhood.  He was immediately taken into custody and sent to the city's central lockup for booking.

A court appearance will be held early Friday morning.

Earlier in the evening, Orleans Parish Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn signed the warrant for arrest.

NEW ORLEANS, La (WNTZ) - According to several reports, a "person of interest" who allegedly assaults a passed out LSU fan in a viral video at Krystal fast food restaurant on New Orleans's Bourbon Street is on his way back to the city for questioning.

The Ledger Enquirer newspaper in Columbus, Ga., reported that Heath Taylor, a sheriff in Russell County, Alabama, says Brian Downing could be the "person of interest", and his attorney are on their way to meet with a New Orleans Police sex crimes investigator.  To make matters worse for the sheriff, he identifies Downing as his second cousin.

In further media reports, Taylor had not viewed the video, but after family members inform Taylor that Downing is the person of interest, he contacts New Orleans Police asking if he should detain Downing.  Instead, Taylor urges Downing travel to New Orleans immediately to face questioning.  "Brian... This is out of character for him, but even being out of character, you have consequences for what you do, and your family isn't immune to that, and you have to pay for those consequences," Taylor said over the phone in an interview to news anchor Beth Shelburne at Fox affiliate WBRC in Birminham, Ala.

Downing, along with his family and an attorney, left for New Orleans several hours ago.  He has no warrants for his arrest at the moment.

The video which hit YouTube and has gained media attention, shows a passed out man in an LSU jersey inside Krystal fast food restaurant in New Orleans, taken sometime after Alabama wins the BCS National Championship against LSU. Alabama fans including the person of interest were surrounding the passed out individual, putting their fingers in his ears, nose, and putting food containers on top of him.  The alleged person of interest was shown placing his exposed genitals on the victim's forehead and simulating a sexual act.

In reports, Downing worked for regional sports clothing and accessory store Hibbett Sports, though the manager wouldn't say what position he held or how long he'd been there. We've learned the man wanted for questioning has been fired from his job at Hibbett.  The manager released a statement saying, "it doesn't represent anything about our company."

FOX 48 will update this story as it develops.


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FOX 48 Updates

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