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Mueller Report outlines flaws in NFL’s investigation of Ray Rice case

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While the report filed by former FBI Robert Mueller found no evidence that anyone from the NFL viewed the video that TMZ was able to obtain from inside the elevator at the Revel Hotel and Casino that showed Ray Rice striking Janay Palmer and knocking her unconscious, Mueller did find that the league failed to adequately investigate the incident before suspending Rice for two games.

According to the report, the information from the police report that Rice struck Palmer and from the indictment that Rice “did attempt to cause significant bodily injury to [Palmer], and/or did purposely or knowingly cause significant bodily injury to [Palmer] and/or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life” should have led to a more substantial investigation. The NFL did not contact police officers that investigated the incident, the Atlantic City Prosecutor’s Office or the Revel to obtain the video or other information nor did they contact Rice or his lawyer about a video that they had in their possession.

In general, the report takes the NFL to task for relying on outside investigations by law enforcement. It states that punishment under the Personal Conduct Policy should be determined by the actions and “not solely or necessarily on the disposition of a criminal case.” There were also six recommendations for future investigations, all of which underscore the questionable point that the league office that dropped the ball in the Rice case should be further empowered to investigate outside the judicial system.

The recommendations are: Expand the Security Department by adding supervisory resources; Establish a specialized investigative team for domestic violence and sexual assault cases; Adopt investigative guidelines for its investigations; Provide annual training and a formal performance review process for investigators; Enhance its policies to assure information sharing between clubs and the League; and Transcribe proceedings when a player and interested parties appear at a disciplinary proceeding.

The league has already announced changes to the Personal Conduct Policy that include a newly created position for a head of discipline to oversee league investigations outside of those done by law enforcement.