Three former Destrehan students pleaded guilty to misdemeanor resisting arrest in connection with their Mardi Gras melee with a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy.
Rickey Jefferson, Joe Sharpe and David Sampson, who were also members of the Destrehan football team last year, were originally charged with felonies of resisting arrest by violence in connection with the Feb. 2 incident. They had all pled not guilty to those charges, but pled guilty on Monday to the misdemeanor charge. They were each given two years of active probation.
Jefferson is currently a member of the LSU football team.
Jefferson's attorney, Lance Unglesby, said the LSU defensive back is ready to move on with his life following the guilty plea.
“Rickey appreciates the opportunity to get this all behind him and is thankful to the sherriff and district attorney. Louisiana is going to get to know Rickey over the years to come, and I can tell you there is something special about him," Unglesby said. " I look forward to watching people getting to know him like I have and beyond the headline of this story.”
Witnesses quoted by the Louisiana Weekly said the incident was provoked by Sampson calling a friend a derogatory name and undercover officer Det. Joshua Collins mistaking it as being directed towards him. After that, Collins reportedly told Sampson to approach him and Sampson ignored the order and kept on walking.
Sampson’s mother, Roanne Sampson, who is a detective with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, told the Louisiana Weekly that Collins chased Sampson down, ripped his shirt off and slammed him over the hood of a car. According to her account it was not until after Jefferson and Sharpe tried to intervene and pull the deputy off of David that he identified himself as a police officer.
Sharpe told the Louisiana Weekly that he thought his friend was being attacked by a stranger for no reason and that is why he and Jefferson intervened. After Collins told them that he was a deputy, Sharpe said that he and Jefferson quit struggling with the policeman.
According to the police report written by Collins, Sampson allegedly shouted obscenities at him while he was arresting someone in the crowd for a narcotics violation and he tried to arrest him. Collins also wrote that Sampson swung at him and the two began fighting in the parade route and then Jefferson and Sharp started to attack him as well.
Collins said that Sampson escaped but that he was able to tackle him after a lengthy chase through the parade route. As he was running, Collins alleges that witnesses told him Sampson threw a gun that was never recovered by officers.
Sampson’s mother also told the Louisiana Weekly that she alerted civil rights organizations and community leaders about her son’s alleged mistreatment, which reportedly included deputies yelling racial slurs at him.
Sampson is an honor’s student at Destrehan who was nominated for the school’s student of the year. He is also a member of the National Honor’s Society and received the U.S. Marine Corps Scholar Athlete award.