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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

A Day After Ray Rice Video Went Public, Ravens Asked For Arrest Report

Illustration for article titled A Day After Ray Rice Video Went Public, Ravens Asked For Arrest Report

The Baltimore Ravens did reach out to the Atlantic City Police Department about the Ray Rice investigation—on Sept. 9, a day after TMZ published video showing the team's running back punching out his then-fiancée in a casino elevator in February. They wanted a copy of the arrest and police reports. The cops complied, sending along documents that had been made public long ago. The Ravens responded by asking for "the actual incident report." They were handed off to the Atlantic City solicitor's office, and thus concluded their formal inquiry into the cops' end of the Rice investigation.


The Ravens' communication with the cops, obtained via a public records request, is at the bottom of the page. In our request, we'd asked for all documented communication between the team or the NFL and Atlantic City police: emails, memos, phone logs, letters, text messages, notes, missed-call notes, even any log of visitors to the building that indicated contact between the league or the team and police. We'd also asked that our request include both employees or anyone acting as an agent on behalf of the NFL or the Ravens.

What came back was a small amount of discussion, beginning Sept. 9, between the department's supervisor for criminal-information records and Ravens security director Darren Sanders. No communication between the department and the NFL was released.

Here's Sanders, writing on official Ravens letterhead:

I am writing to you in an attempt to get a copy of the arrest and police reports concerning the Raymell Rice Incident, which took place in February 2014. Mr. Rice and his girlfriend, Janay Palmer, were both arrested for an assault that took place at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City.

I/We, The Baltimore Ravens Football Team, am/are hoping obtain these reports for our records.

Compare that with what Sanders said last week at a press conference held in a response to an ESPN report that suggested the Ravens remained willfully in the dark about the incident.

"Within a couple of days, I asked the casino and the Atlantic City Police Department for a copy of any videotape of the incident. They said they could not release a copy of the videotape to me. Some days later—I believe it was on February 25—I spoke to an Atlantic City police official again, asking again whether I could get a copy of the tape or, if not, whether I could come to his New Jersey office and view it. He said I could not, but he did offer to view the tape and describe what he saw."


(Keep in mind that there are any number of ways to ask for a video from the cops that wouldn't necessarily show up in our records sweep.)

The department responded to Sanders' request on Sept. 17 with a brief email that included the attachments of what could be released. The department's supervisor for criminal-information records said those attachments were the summons and arrest report that already had been made public. Everything else was exempt because of the ongoing investigation, her email told Sanders.


Sanders wrote back:

Thank you for the information received. I appreciate what you've sent. I am wondering if the actual incident report and arrest report, detailing the incident, are available? I/we are just trying to get an idea of exactly what happened in reference to this arrest. Or is this information protected by law?


The supervisor wrote back saying Sanders needed to talk to the solicitor's office about that and gave him the phone number. That is the end of the released communication.

The department also released a log of public records requests it has received from around the time of Rice's arrest until Sept. 17. Again, the official "Baltimore Ravens" identifier doesn't appear until Sept. 9, attached to Sanders' name on the log.


We made a nearly identical request with Atlantic County prosecutors. They said they had no records to release, although Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain did tell the Press of Atlantic City last month that his office rejected a query from the NFL regarding the Rice video.

Image via Getty