A viral video of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. smacking the buttocks of a Mercedes Benz Superdome police officer after an LSU game has resulted in the NFL player being issued an arrest warrant for simple battery. According to nola.com, law enforcement sources said authorities initially tried to obtain a warrant for misdemeanor sexual battery, but was denied by a judge. The judge later approved the redrafted warrant accusing Beckham of simple battery. And while putting your hands on a law enforcement officer is no laughing matter, Twitter got a hold of the footage and crafted a plethora of memes, GIFs and tweets anyway.
The incident stemmed from an officer reprimanding LSU right guard Damien Lewis following the team’s win over Clemson for the college football’s national championship. Members of LSU’s team were smoking celebratory cigars in the locker room when an officer informed the players that anyone caught smoking was subject to arrest.
“A police officer threw water on the party when telling the national champions they could not smoke the cigars that burned for easily 15 minutes after beating Clemson,” according to a report from AL.com.
Another officer allegedly told the players it was okay to smoke in the locker room, despite his commander saying otherwise.
Police launched their investigation into the incident after the Superdome contacted them on Tuesday. It’s worth noting the difference between the crime authorities tried to get an arrest warrant for, versus the crime they were approved for. According to nola.com, per Louisiana law, misdemeanor sexual battery is described as the “intentional touching of the breasts or buttocks of a victim who did not consent to the contact.” The charge also carries a maximum of six months in jail and is not expungable, if convicted. Meanwhile, simple battery is “battery committed without the consent of the victim,” the outlet reports. If convicted, the offender can face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Unlike misdemeanor sexual battery, the conviction is expungable for first-time offenders.
The Browns released a statement following the incident. “We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the team said. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”
Some folks are making light of the situation, while others on Twitter are debating if Beckham took “locker room behavior” too far.
Check out the debate below.