Ray Rice spat two times in the face of then-fiancée Janay Palmer the night he punched her in a hotel elevator, a security staffer from the Atlantic City casino where it occurred told ESPN.
Three current or former security staffers spoke on condition of anonymity about what they saw. Two of the staffers were on duty that night, while a third had full access to security footage.
One said that Rice spat at Palmer twice -- "once outside the elevator and once inside" -- which prompted Palmer's reactionary movements that led to Rice's punch.
One staffer said the first thing Rice said as security showed up while he was dragging Palmer out of the elevator was "She's intoxicated. She drank too much. I'm just trying to get her to the room."
The same staffer said that when Palmer regained consciousness she said to Rice, "How could you do this to me? I'm the mother of your kid," and that while she was still groggy, Rice called someone on his cell phone and said, "I'm getting arrested tonight."
Video of the punch was released by TMZ.com on Monday. On Wednesday, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press he sent a copy of the tape to an NFL executive in April. The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell maintain that Monday was the first time they saw the video and that they asked for anything relevant and were never given the opportunity to see it.
- Molly Geary