An arrest warrant was issued on Thursday in New Orleans accusing Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. of simple battery in the wake of a locker room incident between Beckham and a stadium security guard on Monday night.
The news was first reported by The Times-Picayune in New Orleans:
BREAKING: BREAKING: An arrest warrant has been issued for former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr., who was videoed hitting a police officer on the back side after the Tigers' win over Clesmon. https://t.co/hH43oToeIK— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) January 16, 2020
The incident took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome following LSU’s national championship game victory over Clemson. Beckham, who played at LSU from 2011 to 2013, was celebrating with LSU players in the locker room when Beckham appeared to slap the buttocks of a male security guard.
The incident was caught on video and shared via social media:
OBJ wasn’t gonna let that officer spoil the fun.. told him to get the gat. pic.twitter.com/sWoWj53r42— (@wannabjoyful) January 14, 2020
According to the article in The Times-Picayune, police originally wanted to obtain a warrant for a misdemeanor sexual battery charge, but a judge would not approve that. Police then changed the charge to a count of simple battery and the warrant was approved.
There is a big difference between the two charges, according to the newspaper:
Louisiana law defines misdemeanor sexual battery as the intentional touching of the breasts or buttocks of a victim who did not consent to the contact. While it carries a maximum of six months in jail, it is relatively more serious than other misdemeanors because it is not expungeable in the event of a conviction.
Louisiana law defines simple battery as “battery committed without the consent of the victim.” That crime, upon conviction, calls for up to six months in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000. It also expungeable for first-time offenders.
The Browns issued a brief statement on the team’s website:
“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter. They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”
Later in the day, The Times-Picayune reported that the 48-year-old security guard “suppressed the urge to punch Beckham in retaliation” and decided to call the New Orleans Police Department a day later after deciding to press charges. The paper noted that the police department is a different agency than the security force that works at the Superdome.
The guard also thought about arresting Beckham, according to the newspaper, but decided not to “due to the jovial atmosphere of the locker room.”
In addition to the legal situation, Beckham also caused a stir when video cameras caught him passing out cash to LSU players after the game. LSU is investigating that to determine if Beckham passed out real money - which would be a potential NCAA violation - or fake cash.