WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III today released the results of a four-month investigation into the Ray Rice incident on February 15, 2014. The National Football League (NFL) asked Mueller on September 10, 2014, to address two questions:
- Did the NFL possess or view the in-elevator video of Mr. Rice and his then-fiancee Janay Palmer from the Revel Casino before its public release on September 8, 2014?
- What information was obtained, provided or available to the NFL during its investigation of the Rice incident?
Acting with full independence from the NFL, Mr. Mueller and his colleagues reviewed millions of documents, emails, text messages and electronic data logs, and interviewed more than 200 NFL employees and contractors. Digital forensics experts searched computers and mobile phones of the league's senior executives, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, for any digital evidence of the in-elevator video.
Responding to a news story that a woman at the NFL confirmed receipt of the video in the April 9 call, investigators traced every outgoing phone call from the NFL, and took several other investigative actions that are detailed in the report. The investigators interviewed every female employee, contractor or vendor whose electronic badge recorded that she was in the League's main office on that day. Each was asked whether they made such a call or had any knowledge about the receipt by the NFL of an in-elevator video of the Rice incident.
The investigation found no evidence that the NFL received the in-elevator video before its public release on September 8, 2014.
With regard to the question about the information available to the NFL, the report includes the following findings:
- The NFL's deference to law enforcement "can foster an environment in which it is less important to understand precisely what a player did than to understand how and when the criminal justice system addresses the event."
- The NFL's deference to the law enforcement process involving Mr. Rice "led to deficiencies in the League's collection and analysis of information during its investigation."
- The NFL had "substantial information suggesting a serious event had occurred inside the elevator that the League should have further investigated." Had the League done so, "it may have uncovered additional information about the incident, possibly including the in-elevator video prior to its public release."
Summarizing the results of the investigation, Mr. Mueller said:
"We found no evidence that anyone at the NFL had or saw the in-elevator video before it was publicly shown. We also found no evidence that a woman at the NFL acknowledged receipt of that video in a voicemail message on April 9, 2014.
"We concluded there was substantial information about the incident – even without the in-elevator video – indicating the need for a more thorough investigation. The NFL should have done more with the information it had, and should have taken additional steps to obtain all available information about the February 15 incident."
The report acknowledges the NFL's recent changes to its Personal Conduct Policy, and offers several recommendations for additional improvements, including:
- More training and better supervision for NFL investigators
- The creation of a specialized investigative team for domestic violence and sexual abuse cases
- Investigative guidelines and standards to encourage more thorough investigations
- Policies requiring more information sharing between the league and NFL clubs during investigations
The full details of the investigation, the findings and the recommendations, as well as an executive summary, are available at RobertMuellerReport.com.
SOURCE Robert S. Mueller III