Ravens running back Ray Rice was indicted on an aggravated assault charge stemming form an incident that occurred at an Atlantic City casino last month, acting Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain announced Thursday.
The 27-year-old allegedly struck and rendered his fiancee, Janay Palmer, unconscious in the Revel Casino on Feb. 15 and was initially arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence. However, the case was referred to the prosecutor’s office for further review as Palmer was also charged with simple assault-domestic violence for allegedly striking Rice.
Prosecutors presented the case to the grand jury, which handed down the more serious charge of third-degree aggravated assault “for attempting to cause significant body injury, and/or purposely or knowing causing such injury, and/or recklessly causing such injury under extreme indifference to the value of human life.” The charge carries a potential three-to-five year prison sentence with a conviction.
The original charge against Palmer was dismissed.
“On behalf of Ray Rice we vehemently deny that Mr. Rice committed an aggravated assault,” Rice’s attorney, Michael Diamondstein, told The Press of Atlantic City on Thursday. “Both Mr. Rice and Miss Palmer are together, they are happy, and they’re in counseling.”
The attorney also expressed that neither Rice nor Palmer want to move forward with the case.
The Ravens have stood by Rice since last month’s evidence became public with owner Steve Bisciotti saying earlier this week that the troubled running back would remain with the team in 2014. Head coach John Harbaugh echoed Bisciotti’s sentiment at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando on Tuesday.
The organization released the following statement on Thursday afternoon regarding the indictment:
“This is part of the due process for Ray. We know there is more to Ray Rice than this one incident.”
League commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the NFL was continuing to monitor the case but expressed that there was no timetable on any potential discipline being handed down to the seventh-year running back.