SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks organization did not speak to witnesses or police before coming to the conclusion that a controversial draft selection did not assault his then-girlfriend during a domestic disturbance last year.
Defensive end Frank Clark was drafted by the team in the second round on Friday, despite concerns about his criminal past.
Clark was removed from the football program at the University of Michigan just days after he was arrested for domestic violence and assault following a November, 15, 2014, incident inside a hotel room at the Maui Sands Resort & Indoor Waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio.
Multiple witnesses described a violent altercation between Clark and his girlfriend, including two women who were staying in the room next door.
“There was no doubt in my mind that (Frank Clark) was hitting her,” one of the women told Q13 FOX in a phone interview Tuesday. “The little children came running out of the room yelling, ‘Frank’s killing her! Frank’s killing her!’ She was laying there and she seemed unconscious and then slowly started to move.”
Both of the women are listed as witnesses in an official police report of the incident, obtained by Q13 FOX.
In the report, police also took a statement from the alleged victim’s 15-year-old brother, who was in the shower at the time of the incident.
“He advised his younger brother came into the bathroom and told him Frank was hitting (her),” the report stated. “He advised he came out of the shower and observed Frank punching (her).”
He further told police that Clark “grabbed her by the throat, picked her up off the ground and slammed her to the ground while also landing on top of her.”
In the report, Frank Clark denied assaulting the woman.
“I didn’t do (expletive) to her. I didn’t touch that woman, she is a woman,” Clark told police, according to the report.
Clark said his girlfriend had been “nagging” him all day and was “trippin” because she thought she may be pregnant. Police noted that Clark had “bloodshot and glassy” eyes and that there was “an odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his person.”
Clark’s girlfriend told police that she was upset and threw a remote at him. She said Clark tried to hold her down on the bed, so she bit his nose. At that point, she told police that Clark punched her in the face and she fell backward and broke a lamp.
Asked by officers if she wanted to press charges, she stated she did not because of “what Frank has going on.”
Ohio law allows police officers to arrest a domestic violence suspect without a victim’s cooperation if there is evidence of a physical altercation. Police took Clark into custody on investigation of domestic violence and assault.
Clark later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct after he agreed to counseling. He was given a $250 fine and will not have a domestic violence conviction on his record.
The prosecutor who tried Clark’s case in Ohio, Lynne Gast-King, told the Seattle Times that she believes there was some sort of “physical altercation” between the two, but that she does not believe Clark is a “batterer” who would likely repeat what happened.
“When I first read that report, I was like ‘Holy you know what … this is bad, this is really bad,’ ’’ Gast-King told the paper. “He made a very good impression, of course. He was very articulate, very polite, very humble. Actually, he was quite charming. I always take that with a grain of salt because batterers can be quite charming. I’m very careful about that, and I think I’m pretty good about reading whether it’s forced or faked.’’
Gast-King told the Times she also spoke with the victim and her mother, but would not reveal any details of their “confidential” conversation.
Clark was selected by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday in the 63rd overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Seahawks General Manager John Schneider and Coach Pete Carroll answered questions from the media about the decision to draft Clark, despite previous comments from the team that no one with the history of assaulting women would be welcome on the roster.
Schneider said on Friday that he would not have drafted Clark if he believed an assault actually occurred.
“I have four older sisters and I would say that there are always two sides to every story,” Schneider said. “And you have to go through the whole thing. You can’t just go with one police report. You have to talk to everybody that’s involved. Everybody.”
The Seahawks released this statement to Q13 FOX Tuesday:
“We conducted an extensive independent investigation that included confidential interviews with people directly involved with the case. That investigation provided our organization with an in-depth understanding of the situation and background. With the exception of Frank, we did not directly speak to any witnesses from that night.”
The Seahawks would not elaborate on who the team spoke with as part of its independent investigation.
Both of the women who were in the hotel room next door to Frank Clark that night told Q13 FOX that the Seahawks did not contact them. The chief of the Perkins Township Police Department in Ohio also stated that he did not receive a call from the team.
“We weren’t spoken to by the Seahawks,” Chief Ken Klamar told Q13 FOX. “They can believe what they want. I strongly believe there was probable cause. I am not going to go back and say that we didn’t have probable cause (for an arrest).”
A call to the woman at the center of the incident was not returned. Q13 FOX did, however, speak to her mother. When asked whether her daughter stands by her initial story, she said “no comment.”
Calls and an email to Frank Clark’s defense attorney were not immediately returned.