January 21, 2012 12:33:00 AM
By JANET McCONNAUGHEY
NEW ORLEANS -- An Alabama sheriff says a relative is on his way to New Orleans to meet with police in connection with a video taken after the BCS football championship game that appears to show an unconscious LSU fan being abused by someone in Alabama attire.
New Orleans police say they are investigating whether actions in the video constitute possible sexual battery. No charges have yet been filed. A spokesman confirmed a person of interest was expected to arrive in New Orleans late Thursday.
Russell County, Ala., Sheriff Heath Taylor told The Associated Press that he has not seen the video or asked his male relative about the case, and does not want to be the person who identifies his second cousin as the "person of interest" whom New Orleans police want to question.
He said other members of his family called Thursday morning to say that his relative had been identified as the man shown exposing himself and then simulating a sex act above the head of an apparently unconscious man in an LSU-purple shirt.
"I called his dad and said, 'You need to bring him to my office. Period," Taylor said. He said he then called New Orleans police to ask whether they wanted him to jail and extradite the man, or send to New Orleans to surrender. "New Orleans made that call," he said.
Taylor said he did not speak to his relative. "I gave his attorney the card with the detective's name on it and cell number."
The relationship was first reported by the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Ga. (http://bit.ly/zeyR2f +), which is about 9 miles east-northeast from Phenix City, Ala.,
Scott Myers, a spokesman for Birmingham, Ala.-based Hibbett Sports Inc., confirmed Thursday that the man had worked for the company, and was fired Wednesday within hours after the company learned of his alleged part in the video.
He said the company had been aware of the tape, but did not identify the person on it until Wednesday. He refused to say what the man did for the company or how the company became aware of his alleged involvement. Hibbett Sports lists about 800 stores in 26 states.
"We were made aware of this situation late yesterday afternoon. We conducted our own investigation, and after the investigation was concluded, we made the determination to terminate his employment," Myers said.
Taylor said that when he heard the allegation, he had no choice. "I was going to facilitate either putting him into jail or sending him to New Orleans. I wasn't going to let anybody say that because he's my family I wasn't doing anything about it."
It wasn't a hard decision, he said. "You've just got to do the right thing."
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