An LSU football player accused of punching and grabbing his former girlfriend by the throat on multiple occasions was arrested Friday, as authorities investigated shifting accounts of what happened.
Drake Davis, a junior wide receiver, was booked on one count of second-degree battery for the four incidents, which allegedly occurred between April 2017 and June 2018.
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An LSU official said Davis has been suspended from the team indefinitely after he was arrested and booked Friday. Head coach Ed Orgeron declined to comment on Davis, stating that it was "a legal matter."
An arrest warrant indicated a school official alerted LSU Police to the incidents between Davis and another LSU student, Davis' ex-girlfriend, after they had been brought to the official's attention.
LSU Police then contacted the alleged victim, who corroborated the story and indicated she and Davis had recently ended their relationship after more than a year.
Marci Blaize, an attorney for Davis, said her client’s accuser has provided a statement retracting the allegations.
“I have been contacted by the victim and she has provided me a statement that the allegations are, in fact, false," Blaize said. "It’s my understanding that she has also made similar statements to other entities in law enforcement.”
Blaize declined to provide The Advocate with a copy of the woman's statement denying that any abuse occurred. The LSU police report indicates there is photographic evidence, text messages and other evidence that support the allegations.
It is not clear if the accuser, who is not named in the LSU police arrest warrant, has hired an attorney.
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said he was unable to comment on whether the woman retracted her statements to LSU police. However, he confirmed that police continue to investigate and have forwarded the case to East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.
"My understanding is that her statement to others has changed. … I don't know the sum and substance of it totally," Moore said. "We will meet with her and continue to meet with her. Look, it is not unusual for people who have been abused to change their story and … it’s something that we always have to be mindful of and take into account. This (investigation) really is ongoing."
Moore asked anyone with information on this case to reach out to his office or to LSU police.
Moore has previously said his office generally wants to move forward with domestic abuse cases even when an accuser signs a “do not charge” form or recants their statements. Prosecutors would use physical evidence, such as photographs, and witness statements.
The warrant for Davis' arrest documented the four alleged violent incidents, with the first occurring in May 2017 at Davis' home. The woman went to Davis' home to retrieve some of her possessions, but Davis became angry and punched her in the stomach, according to the warrant.
A second incident allegedly occurred in April of 2018 at Davis' on-campus LSU apartment. Davis is accused of becoming angry the woman had been out with her friends and punching her in the side hard enough to break one of the woman's ribs, the LSU police report says.
The woman told police that her rib fracture was diagnosed by a medical staff. She also provided police with photographic evidence that showed the bruise and finger marks from the incident.
In another incident, for which no date was provided, Davis became upset with the woman for waving at a friend. He drove her to a spot on Perkins Road, threw her phone out the window and tried to abandon her, according to the police report. He ultimately turned around and picked the woman up, only to choke her as she re-entered his vehicle, according to the report.
In the fourth and final alleged incident, in June of 2018, Davis became angry about a text conversation so he went to the woman's apartment, let himself inside with a key and attacked the woman, according to the police report. He is accused of punching the woman in the stomach, choking her and pulling an earring out of her ear.
Investigators reviewed photos from after the attack and a few days later when the bruising on her neck was heavier, according to the warrant. The woman's roommate applied makeup to the woman's neck to hide the bruising, police said.
The woman also provided text message conversations to police, including one message where Davis said "I might kill you," according to the warrant.
Blaize released an additional statement on behalf of her client, who was released from East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Saturday evening.
“This has been an absolute nightmare for Drake and his family,” Blaize said. “We hope that the truth surfaces and that the matter is resolved favorably so he can get back to living his life.”
Davis is a Baton Rouge native who attended IMG Academy. He's listed at 6-feet-4-inches and 220 pounds. Davis played in all 13 games for LSU last season.
When Coach Orgeron was asked by a reporter how he tries to educate his players on the proper treatment of women, he specifically referred to a July 9 team meeting with guest speaker and sports radio personality Rachel Baribeau.
“Do the right thing, it’s always about doing the right thing," Orgeron said. "It’s always about protecting the team. I think our administration does a great job of educating our guys the Do’s and Don’ts. We’ve brought in several speakers. We’ve had several seminars tour football team throughout the year.”