Eyewitness: Former Steeler Chris Rainey Didn't Slap His Girlfriend

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We told you yesterday about Chris Rainey's arrest for allegedly slapping his girlfriend in Gainesville, Fla., which led to Rainey getting cut by the Steelers by the afternoon. Late last night, we received an email from a woman who says she saw what went down, and that her version of events doesn't match the account police say they got from other witnesses. The woman, who identified herself as Heather M., has verified for us that she lives on the same block as Rainey. A Gainesville PD spokesperson has also confirmed that police responded to a 911 call for the incident involving Rainey on that same block.


As the email shows, Heather had initially contacted Jamison Hensley, ESPN's AFC North blogger, and that Hensley it was suggested she send it to us. We decided it was best to go ahead and run the email in full. Thanks, Jamison! We can take it from here!

From: Heather M.
To: Dom Cosentino

Mr. Cosentino,

I wrote this email to the ESPN writer who wrote the article about the arrest. I was told that you would be a good person to contact about it, and that you would be more likely to act on it.

Thanks for your time,

————— Forwarded message —————

Mr. Hensley,

I am writing you in regard to your article about the Steeler's dismissal of Chris Rainey after his arrest this morning. Chris is actually my next door neighbor and I happened to see the whole ordeal transpire from my apartment as I was getting ready for class this morning. What the police report/your article describes as Chris "pull[ing] the woman out of a vehicle...and then slapp[ing] her in the face with an open hand" was actually him pulling on a backpack that she was also holding and she took a few steps outside the open car door that she was sitting sideways in (because he obviously pulled harder than she did). The only thing that I can imagine witnesses claiming to be a slap to the face was when he tried to snatch the bag and she put her hand in the way and his hand made a slapping noise against hers.

By the time I left for class, there were police officers taking statements, but the girl with whom he was arguing was telling the police officers the truth about what happened, so I did not feel it was necessary to make a statement. It seemed like they were just going through a formality because 911 was called. As a result of reading your article, I contacted GPD and asked to file a report on what actually happened. I was treated like a criminal, despite being a straight A student and never having even a little trouble with the law. I was accused of lying and told that, although they can't tell me who reported what, there was at least one witness who said they saw him slap her in the face.

I think that it is also worth noting that the person who called 911 was a neighbor who openly dislikes Chris and his roommate and wanders the neighborhood asking if she can have our passwords for our internet instead of buying her own.

Thank you,
Heather M.