NFL didn’t formally seek records until Kareem Hunt video published; Chiefs never did

Update: After this story published, Cleveland police announced that a representative of the National Football League did obtain a police report, but not through the official public records process. A new story detailing that news is posted here.

The National Football League did not file a formal request for records of the Feb. 10 incident in Cleveland involving former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt until Nov. 30, the same day TMZ published video footage of the assault at a hotel.

The Kansas City Chiefs never made a formal request, according to public records reviewed by The Star.

The Star obtained a list of requests for records of the Kareem Hunt incident through an Ohio open records law from Feb. 10 until Tuesday. There’s no record of a request by the NFL until Nov. 30.

“We had multiple verbal conversations with Cleveland police officers and requested surveillance video immediately upon learning of the incident in February,” said Brian McCarthy, vice president of communications for the NFL. “In addition, NFL representatives also made requests for surveillance video to the hotel property. We also obtained and reviewed the material developed by the police, which included the written reports prepared by the officers who responded to the incident, and later the interviews that were recorded by body cams and the recordings of the 911 calls.”

Open records requests trigger a requirement by government agencies to release public records to anyone who requests them, with certain exceptions.

Several news organizations, someone named “Greg T” and another person named Kelly Ottinger sought various records from the Cleveland Police Department in the weeks and months that followed the Feb. 10 incident. It was on that day that Hunt and others were involved in a fight at The Metropolitan at the 9, a downtown Cleveland hotel.

Hotel surveillance footage shows Hunt kicking and shoving a woman. Hunt was released from the Chiefs on Nov. 30, moments after TMZ published the surveillance footage. The Chiefs said, and Hunt has subsequently acknowledged, that the star running back had not told the team the truth about the incident in Cleveland.

A spokesman for the Chiefs was not immediately available for comment.

On Nov. 30, a person named Jordan Carpenter, who lists the NFL as his company, filed a request for unedited versions of police reports, records, 911 calls, body camera footage, police radio reports and surveillance footage of “an incident involving multiple individuals occurring in the early morning hours of February 10, 2018.”

A records request with the Cleveland police would not have turned up the hotel surveillance footage. Cleveland police said they did not seek the surveillance footage because the Feb. 10 incident was a misdemeanor offense. But a records request would have turned up police body camera footage and a police report.

The written police report details that Hunt allegedly “shoved and pushed” the woman enough to cause abrasions on her knee, hand and a scratch on her chest.

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