Although the Bellevue Police Department recommended a fourth-degree assault charge against Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed in connection with a 2017 domestic-violence incident, the city’s prosecuting office declined to pursue the case further, feeling there was insufficient evidence to prove the crime occurred.
The City of Bellevue made that assertion in a statement released Tuesday after a request from The Seattle Times.
The reasoning for why the city’s prosecutors did not pursue the case was redacted from a 57-page police report that was made available Monday after it was learned that Reed had been suspended for the first six games of the 2019 season by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Because Reed was neither arrested nor charged in the incident, questions remain about why the NFL decided to then suspend Reed roughly 27 months after the incident occurred on April 27, 2017.
The statement from the City of Bellevue read: “In 2017, after a careful review of the case, prosecutors believed there was insufficient evidence to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ the alleged crime. As with all criminal cases, prosecutors take any incident related to domestic violence very seriously.’’
The city said the reason for redacting the apparently more detailed explanation for not pursuing charges was to stay in compliance with the Revised Code of Washington concerning attorney/client interactions.
Specifically, “disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other party concerning the litigation are protected as attorney work-product under CR 26. This rule continues to protect materials prepared in anticipation of litigation even after the litigation has terminated.’’
The memo detailing the reasons for not pursuing charges was dated Dec. 22, 2017, and attributed to deputy prosecutor Brie Ann Hopkins-Gill.
The NFL conducted its own investigation into the incident and notified the Seahawks and Reed of its decision, then denied Reed an appeal Friday before the suspension was then announced Monday.
According to the police report, the 6-foot-3, 306-pound Reed was alleged by a 21-year-old woman who identified herself as his girlfriend of a month of initially grabbing her by the throat and pulling her into a connected bathroom before releasing her after an argument erupted in Reed’s Bellevue residence. Later, after the argument continued, the woman alleged Reed grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her across a bedroom floor and then down “a couple of stairs” before the woman broke free. The call to police came at 3:06 a.m. The woman said she suffered injuries to her wrist and elbow in the incident.
The NFL’s personal conduct policy gives the league a broad reach to enforce discipline and to do so on its own timeline. That has led to some questions about the consistency of the NFL’s doling out of discipline. In the aftermath of Reed’s suspension some observers wondered why the league had declined last week to suspend Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs, who was investigated amid allegations of child abuse.
The league released a statement explaining that it did not punish Hill because “based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy” and that “local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child’s injuries.”
The league has not responded to a Seattle Times request for more detailed comment on why it penalized Reed and why it did so more than two years after the incident, during which time Reed has played two full seasons.
Reed took to Twitter on Monday to say “I totally disagree’’ with the NFL’s decision while adding “I take responsibility for the situation.’’
Reed was advised by his lawyer not to give a statement to police during the Bellevue PD investigation, according to the report.
The Seahawks released a statement Monday stating that they followed “league and law enforcement protocol since the alleged incident in April of 2017.’’
Coach Pete Carroll is expected to address any additional questions about Reed’s suspension when he meets with media once training camp opens on Thursday.
Reed will be allowed to take part in training camp and preseason games but then will miss the first six games of Seattle’s season. He can return to team activities on Oct. 14 following Seattle’s game at Cleveland on Oct. 13.
Reed was arrested and charged with DUI while playing at Alabama in 2014. Police records show that he has also had a couple of minor traffic citations since coming to Seattle following his drafting by the Seahawks in 2016.
Reed is entering the final season of his four-year rookie contract and there had been speculation that the team could look to give him an extension following a breakout 2018 season in which he had a career-high 10.5 sacks, only the third defensive tackle in team history to have 10 or more sacks in a season, the others being Hall of Famers Cortez Kennedy and John Randle.
It’s unclear if the suspension will change Seattle’s plans for Reed’s future. If he does not sign an extension now he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020, or Seattle could also place a franchise tag on him as it did last spring with Frank Clark.
Reed, 26, had sports-hernia surgery in the spring and did not take part much in the team’s offseason program but it has been expected he will be healthy for the start of training camp.
Reed’s loss for six games deals a big blow to a defensive line already considered one of the team’s bigger question marks entering the season following the trade of Clark (who had 13 sacks last season) and uncertainty over exactly when free agent signee Ziggy Ansah, who is coming off shoulder surgery, will be available.