NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Now that we know exactly what happened in an Atlantic City casino between Ray Rice and Janay Palmer, the question has to be asked: how could the National Football League have been oblivious to a key piece of evidence against the former Baltimore Ravens star?
While it may have requested all information from law enforcement officials, the league never reached out to the shuttered Revel Casino, according to TMZ Sports.
The Ravens released Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely on Monday after TMZ published video of the 27-year-old running back striking his then-fiancee with a left cross, appearing to knock her out before dragging her out of the elevator.
The NFL said it saw the new footage for the first time Monday despite some reports over the summer that contradicted the statement. The only video previously made public from Rice’s Feb. 15 arrest was from a camera pointed at the elevator doors on the casino floor.
“Sources who worked at the casino at the time of the incident tell us … if the NFL had asked for the video, they would have gladly complied,” TMZ reported.
The league doubled down Tuesday in a statement to Pro Football Talk: “Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police. Any videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police. As we said yesterday: We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us.”
The N.J. State Police said on Twitter that all requests would have been handled by local authorities.
Rice, a former Rutgers star who hails from New Rochelle, N.Y., was initially suspended two games for the incident. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later announced harsher penalties for domestic violence offenders after enduring a wave of criticism for a punishment that most felt was too lenient.
Now Goodell is under fire again for his handling of the investigation.
Rice entered into a pretrial intervention program in May. Criminal defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt told CBS 2’s Matt Kozar he was surprised prosecutors agreed to a deal with Rice, dropping assault charges if he completed the program.
“It’s shocking that he wasn’t charged. They don’t need the victim of a crime like that where they have a video of exactly how it occurred to be a witness,” Lefcourt said.
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