Ray Rice, Dont'a Hightower

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice goes in for a two-yard touchdown run against New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower during the first half of the AFC Championship game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Hours after TMZ Sports released a video Wednesday that appears to show Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice carrying his unconscious fiancee out of an Atlantic City casino elevator, the simple-assault case was referred to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Ray Rice, 27, knocked Janay Palmer out by striking her with his hand during an altercation just before 3 a.m. Saturday at Revel Casino-Hotel, according to a simple-assault complaint signed by Atlantic City police Officer Coung Sam.

Sam and Officer Bryon Hargis were called to the casino Saturday and led to the couple, each of whom was charged with simple assault, a disorderly persons offense. Palmer, 26, also struck Rice with her hand, according to the complaint signed against her.

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Attorneys for the couple — who live together in Reisterstown, Md. — said they have entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf.

It is not clear who released the video, which appears to be taken from a surveillance camera outside of the elevator.

“This is obviously edited video,” Rice’s attorney, Michael Diamondstein, told The Press of Atlantic City, adding that he has not yet seen any other video of the incident.

It does not show the altercation, which allegedly happened inside the elevator. Instead, the elevator door opens and a man moves into view holding an apparently unconscious woman under her arms. As he walks, she collapses to her knees and he then places her on the ground and appears to reach back into the elevator, possibly for a purse.

As he tries to pull her up by her waist, a man in a suit approaches. After the two talk briefly, the first man tries to get the woman up and pulls her upright toward the elevator. But the man in the suit walks up to him and starts talking again, and the first man looks exasperated and walks out of frame.

Both Rice and Palmer refused medical attention and reported no injuries to police.

Revel spokeswoman Lisa Johnson said it was the casino's policy not to comment on police investigations. She referred questions regarding the video's authenticity, and whether it was leaked, to police.

Atlantic City Sgt. Monica McMenamin said the case has been referred to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office to ensure the proper charges have been filed. She was not aware of any investigation into the video’s release.

Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain would not comment on the case.

“I can’t try this in the media,” Diamondstein said. “We just want people to remember what a good guy Ray is and to reserve judgment until all the information is out.”

Palmer’s attorney, Robert Gamburg, would not comment on his client’s state in the video.

“I’m confident that, when the facts come out, it will be clear that no party committed any crime,” he said.

The incident will be reviewed under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Rice can be punished even if he is not convicted of a criminal charge, the Sun reported. NFL discipline can include suspensions, fines, banishment from the league, a probationary period where conditions have to be satisfied before reinstatement or a formal reprimand.

Rice was a Rutgers standout before he was drafted by the Ravens in the second round of the 2008 draft. The three-time Pro Bowler struggled last season, a year after helping lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl title.

He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season four times during his six-year career, with a career-high 1,364 yards in 2011.

Staff writer Jennifer Bogdan contributed to this report.

Contact Lynda Cohen:


@LyndaCohen on Twitter

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