The Seattle Seahawks did not speak to witnesses who say they saw second-round pick Frank Clark's then-girlfriend apparently unconscious on the ground the night Clark was arrested on domestic violence charges, the team confirmed to The Seattle Times.
Clark was arrested on Nov. 16 and dismissed from the Michigan football team the following day. He was charged with domestic violence and assault, but the charges were reduced in April and he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He paid a $250 fine.
Since drafting Clark on Friday, Seahawks officials have defended their decision.
"Our organization has an in-depth understanding of Frank Clark’s situation and background," general manager John Schneider told reporters, according to SeattlePI.com. "We have done a ton of research on this young man. There hasn’t been one player in this draft that we have spent more time researching and scrutinizing more than Frank. That’s why we have provided Frank with this opportunity and are looking forward to him succeeding in our culture here in Seattle."
That research and scrutinization did not include speaking with witnesses to incident, however. Lis Babson, 44, and Kristie Colie, 43, who were staying in to the hotel room next to the one where the incident occurred, both told the Times that the Seahawks did not reach out to them during their investigation, which the team confirmed. In a statement to the Times, the team said it did not speak with anyone witnesses from that night other than Clark.
Babson told the Times she heard screaming in Clark's room and pounded on his door until he opened it. Colie said she saw Diamond Hurt, Clark's then-girlfriend, apparently unconcsious.
"She looked unconscious," Colie told the Times. "She looked like she was knocked out, and then she started to move slowly."
Babson also told the Times that Hurt "looked like she was unconscious."
Both women gave written statements to the police but were not contacted again by authorities or by the Seahawks, they said.
Schneider told reporters the Seahawks would never draft a player who had committed acts of violence against a woman. SI.com's Doug Farrar asked Schneider if that policy was still in place. "Yeah, it still is," Schneider replied. "I can’t get into the specifics of Frank’s case, but that is still a deal-breaker for us, and it will continue to be as we move forward."
The Times obtained a copy of the police report from Clark's arrest, which includes photos of Hurt's injuries. The photos show abrasions on her neck and hip, and a cut on her cheek. Hurt's younger told police that Clark picked Hurt "off the ground, and slammed her to the ground while also landing on top of her," the report says.
Clark's lawyer told the Times he is "comfortable re-affirming [Clark's] prior statements that he did not strike his then-girlfriend."
- Dan Gartland