Monday, May 20 2013 10:58 AM EDT2013-05-20 14:58:13 GMT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Trash talk over college football has led to the first arrest ever in East Baton Rouge Parish under a new state law making it a crime to intimidate using a hangman's noose.
Reggie Drummer, an employee at the engineering firm of Louis J. Capozzoli in Baton Rouge, says he and another co-worker were "trash talking" last week about the upcoming LSU vs. Georgia football game. "Another guy was bragging for LSU, and of course, I was rooting for Georgia at the time," Drummer recalled. "It was just all friendly and trash talking."
Drummer says he was told that if Georgia won the game, he would have a surprise waiting for him Monday morning. When Drummer arrived for work Monday, he says he found a hangman's noose. "I noticed the noose on the ground. I asked him about it. They all laughed at me like it was a joke," Drummer said. Drummer then called police.
An East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy who responded to the call wrote in his report that employees at the business "witnessed the accused making the noose earlier in the morning." The deputy wrote, "The victim stated as an African American man, the noose made a clear statement to him." The report also stated, "Two other African American men working in the same area also expressed offense to the gesture."
The deputy arrested the accused employee, 48-year-old Reggie Parent of Baton Rouge, and charged him with Public Display of a Noose. The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and up to one year in prison. Parent's wife, contacted by phone, said her husband had no comment "and he's not at fault."
Managers at Louis J. Capozzoli said they are investigating the incident and have suspended two employees, including Parent.