Seattle Seahawks

Police report of incident that led to suspension of Seahawks’ Jarran Reed leaves questions

Days later, many are still wondering why the NFL suspended Jarran Reed because of alleged domestic violence after police investigated the Seahawks defensive tackle and he was never charged with a crime.

So what happened that triggered the NFL to suspend Reed on Monday for six games under its far-ranging personal conduct policy, 20 months after prosecutors in Bellevue declined to charge him and closed the case?

One, extended version of events is in the Bellevue Police Department’s police report of the April 2017 incident involving Reed and a 21-year-old woman at his home. Bellevue police provided a copy of its 53-page report and evidence documents of the incident to The News Tribune Tuesday evening.

It has 505 places where names and details are redacted. It portrays the alleged victim as cooperating with police, providing text messages from Reed from her phone and other details of the alleged incident.

The case was under consideration by the City of Bellevue prosecutor’s office for fourth-degree assault. Fourth-degree assault in Washington is a gross misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine, with no mandatory minimum unless there is a special designation, such as domestic violence.

The police report describes Reed as having paid for a first-class, round-trip airline ticket to fly a 21-year-old female he “had been dating for about a month,” according to the woman and others, from Atlanta, near her home in Fairburn, Ga., to Seattle in the spring of 2017.

At 3:06 a.m. on April 27, 2017, Bellevue police were dispatched to Reed’s residence in the Seattle suburb after the woman, described as 140 pounds, had called 911 following two physical incidents that night into early morning with the 6-foot-3, 306-pound Reed.

The police report states the 21-year-old woman had been with others, including what the report describes at least two of Reed’s Seahawks teammates, and “a stripper” at a party in the basement of Reed’s home that night. The report states at one point the stripper claimed to the 21-year-old woman a longer-term relationship with Reed. That provoked a heated argument between the two women.

The reporting officer wrote the 21-year-old woman left the main area of the party and went upstairs with Reed to the house’s master bedroom. There she told Reed “the stripper needed to go.”

The police report states “Reed grabbed (the 21-year-old) by the throat and pulled her into the connected bathroom. (The woman) said Reed continued to yell at her but released her throat. (She) said she was able to breathe when he grabbed her throat, it did not feel as though he squeezed his grip around her neck and it did not hurt. Reed did not drag by her throat, she was walking with him.”

The report states the woman called her mother about that first physical encounter with Reed, then returned to the basement where the party continued.

“The stripper continued to provoke by bring up her relationship with Reed and could not handle it anymore,” the Bellevue police report states.

It describes the 21-year-old woman as returning to the master bedroom, packing her belongings and moving into another bedroom across the hall to go to sleep.

The police report says: “Shortly later, Reed located upstairs in the bedroom she had moved to. (The woman) said Reed was ‘being all nice but I wasn’t having it, I wasn’t nice back.’ Reed eventually ripped the bedsheet off of (the woman) and said “Get the (expletive) out of my house!’ Reed grabbed (the woman) by the right wrist and started dragging her across the bedroom floor to the staircase (going downstairs to the main floor). Reed dragged (the woman) down a couple of stairs but (she) was able to free herself. (She) stood up and ran to the bedroom at the end of the hallway (upstairs), closed the door and called 9-1-1 (0306 hours). Reed chased after and broke open the bedroom door. Reed’s friend was able to hold Reed back once he broke open the door. (The friend) convinced Reed to leave. and Reed left the residence (in his car).”

Other statements from witnesses contained in the police report say the friend was a Seahawks teammate of Reed’s, whose name was redacted from the report. The report of the incident lists as “involved persons” two men with “Seahawks” listed under the category “employer.” Police later had another witness identify two other Seahawks players who were allegedly at the party by photos from the team’s 2017 player roster. Their names were redated from the copy of the report obtained by The News Tribune.

The arriving officer described the woman’s injuries in the police report: “(The woman) said her right wrist was still hurting as she spoke with me. (She) had a red mark on her left elbow that she said was from the floor as Reed dragged her across the carpet flooring. (She) advised her knees were injured during the incident but now no longer hurt.”

The report includes photographs taken by the officer with a police-issued mobile phone of the marks on the woman. A statement from the woman’s mother included in the police report said her daughter’s “head struck the floor many several times” as Reed grabbed her from a bed by the feet and ankles and pulled her “all the way down the stairs to the floor below.”

The report states the woman declined any medical attention. Her mother in her statement said her daughter was seen by her primary care physician within days of her already-scheduled return flight to Atlanta later that morning of the incident.

The police report also includes photos taken by the arriving officer of a wooden door split open near the knob.

“The doorframe (door knob side of the door, inside the room) was completely broken off the wall, laying on the floor inside the bedroom,” the report states.

“(The woman) said all the damage occurred when Reed broke open the door while chasing her. (Her) cellphone screen was cracked and she said it happened when she dropped her phone while Reed dragged her to the staircase.”

The police report does not describe an arrest of Reed. It states he was gone from the residence by the time officers arrived. It adds: “Area checks for Reed and his (vehicle) by other officers produced negative results.”

The reporting officer called Reed’s cell phone with a number that a redacted name provided.

“I called the number provided and left Reed a voicemail (leaving my work phone number) to call me back to discuss the incident,” the reporting officer wrote. “At the time of this report I have not received a call back from Reed.”

That was on April 27, 2017.

Meeghan Black, the public information officer for the Bellevue Police Department, said Tuesday she did not know if Reed was arrested or detained for any length of time after the incident. Black pointed out what the department’s police report does, that Reed was not in the residence when officers arrived in response to the alleged victim’s 911 call.

Immaterial to the decision whether to charge him, should Reed have been arrested for a domestic violence call?

That is a matter of probable cause to be determined by the police officer(s) at the scene, according to Washington state law.

Washington is one of 23 states with mandatory arrest provisions in cases of alleged or suspected domestic assault, according to a compilation by the National Institute of Justice.

Washington state law, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 10.31.100(2)(c), states “A police officer shall arrest and take into custody, pending release on bail, personal recognizance, or court order, a person without a warrant when the officer has probable cause to believe that:...The person is eighteen years or older and within the preceding four hours has assaulted a family or household member...and the officer believes: (i) A felonious assault has occurred; (ii) an assault has occurred which has resulted in bodily injury to the victim, whether the injury is observable by the responding officer or not; or (iii) that any physical action has occurred which was intended to cause another person reasonably to fear imminent serious bodily injury or death.

“Bodily injury means physical pain, illness, or an impairment of physical condition. ...The officer shall arrest the person whom the officer believes to be the primary physical aggressor. In making this determination, the officer shall make every reasonable effort to consider: (A) The intent to protect victims of domestic violence under RCW 10.99.010; (B) the comparative extent of injuries inflicted or serious threats creating fear of physical injury; and (C) the history of domestic violence of each person involved, including whether the conduct was part of an ongoing pattern of abuse.”

All of this and more—specifically, what the NFL learned in its independent investigation—is why Reed is suspended for the first six games of the upcoming Seahawks season. The NFL’s investigation was wholly dependent on witnesses to the incident cooperating; the league has no legal power to subpoena or otherwise compel anyone to talk about anything.

A deputy prosecutor with the City of Bellevue sent Bellevue police a memorandum dated Dec. 22, 2017. The memo stated the city would not be filing the considered charge of assault in the fourth degree against Reed. The reasons for that decision not to charge are redacted from the memorandum provided to The News Tribune.

The report lists the reasons for the redaction as Washington state law RCW 42.56 protecting records relevant to controversy and Civil Rule (CR) 26 protecting the “disclosure of conclusions, opinions or legal theories of an attorney or other party concerning the litigation.

“This rule continues to protect materials prepared in anticipation of litigation even after the litigation has terminated.”

Two days after that memo from the prosecutor declining to pursue charges against Reed, the defensive tackle made his 14th of 15 starts for the Seahawks that season.

He had two tackles in Seattle’s 21-12 win at Dallas on Dec. 24, 2017.

Seattle’s top pass-rushing interior defensive lineman wrote on Twitter Monday “I totally disagree with the decision of the NFL.” He included that in an apology he posted on his social-media account.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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