The NFL’s six-game suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott sparked a firestorm of public opinion.
Is the NFL finally stepping up to take a stand against domestic violence? Or is it unfairly making an example of a young star who electrified the league as a rookie last season? Is there room for a reality somewhere in the middle or for uncertainty in an undoubtedly messy case with major implications?
The NFL wants to validate its findings, released Aug. 11, of “substantial and persuasive” evidence that Elliott used physical force against Tiffany Thompson, his former girlfriend, over several days in July 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. Elliott’s side wants it known that Elliott is being wronged and used as an NFL public-relations pawn, while portraying a picture of the alleged victim as a scheming ex who set Elliott up for a fall, just as she’d vowed.
What follows are the accounts of the alleged violence culled from police interviews, records and affidavits, parts of the NFL’s findings from a year-long investigation that have been made public and, to the extent possible, both sides’ versions of the story.
Elliott’s appeal of the suspension will be heard Aug. 29. He is not facing legal charges, as the Columbus City Attorney’s Office announced in September that it would not pursue the case because of “conflicting and inconsistent information.” The NFL is allowed to hold players to a lower threshold of proof than prosecutors and can issue discipline without an arrest or charge.
Week in Columbus
The Cowboys selected Elliott No. 4 overall in the NFL draft in April 2016, and he went through the team’s ensuing offseason program. He returned to Columbus, the city where he starred for Ohio State, for a week of partying leading up to his 21st birthday. Tiffany Thompson, who was 20 at the time, made the following claims against Elliott during interviews with Columbus police. Her version of events, including the instances of physical force that the NFL believes happened, follow:
Thompson picked up Elliott from the airport Saturday, July 16. They’d dated for about a year, and things had been rocky.
After going out to a club called The Social Room, they went back to his apartment on Canvasback Lane and started arguing. It led to the first of three physical incidents cited in the NFL’s findings. Thompson asked Elliott why a girl was calling his phone between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. “His phone was blowing up,” Thompson told police. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about my phone. Worry about yourself.’ And then he started cussing at me, calling me a [expletive]. Got out of bed …”
Thompson, who is 5-5, 120 pounds, according to a police report, describes the 6-0, 225-pound Elliott pulling her out of the bed and throwing her against the door in the bedroom, placing his right hand around her neck and choking her for 20 to 30 seconds. He let go, clenched his fist and attempted to hit her in the face. But Thompson said she raised her forearm to protect herself and suffered a bruise there.
She started crying. Elliott asked if she was OK. Then he said he was sorry, Thompson said, that he didn’t mean to put his hands on her. Thompson tried to get her things and leave, but Elliott said he didn’t want her to go anywhere, so she stayed. They both fell asleep.
They didn’t wake up until about 3 or 4 p.m. Sunday, July 17. Thompson said she wanted to leave but Elliott wanted her to stay. They both went out that night with separate groups of friends. She had the keys to his place, so he was angry when she arrived home after him.
“He was threatening me, telling me he was going to smash my car window, smash my headlights out, key my car,” Thompson told police. Thompson said Elliott snatched his keys from her and twisted her left arm, leaving a thumb print. Also present was Alvarez Jackson, Elliott’s close friend from his hometown of St. Louis. Jackson had traveled from Dallas to Columbus with Elliott. Thompson said Jackson told Elliott to let go.
The couple continued to argue. They had broken up for a couple of weeks and she had started dating someone else. Thompson said she and Elliott got back together because he texted her all the time saying he couldn’t lose her and that he loved her. Eventually they went to bed.
Thompson and Elliott spent Monday, July 18, packing his belongings and hanging out. Elliott and Thompson went out separately. But when they returned to the apartment, the fighting began again, leading to the second incident included in the NFL’s findings.
“So then he goes, ‘You’re in my house. You’re my puppy dog,'” Thompson told police. “I try to get up and leave and he goes, ‘No, sit the [expletive] down.’ Grabs me by my arm, throws me on the bed.”
Thompson said Elliott prodded her face with his finger, slapped her and grabbed her face when she would look away from him.
The following morning, Thompson said Elliott again apologized. “He was crying. He sounded so sorry,” she told police. “He was like, ‘What’s gotten into me? … All I want to do is lay here with you.’ And he told me multiple times, ‘I always call it tough love. I love you too much.’ “
On Wednesday, July 20, Thompson went back to her own apartment to get clothes to go out again. After a night at 4th Street Bar & Grill, they retired to a rented vacation residence called Carriage House in a popular entertainment area called Short North. They started arguing, leading to the third incident referenced in the NFL report. Thompson said Elliott grabbed her by her underarms, carried her into the hallway and threw her against a storage closet door. She fell and hit her head. He dragged her into the bedroom and tried to call the man she had dated while they were broken up. Thompson asked about the girls she believed he had cheated on her with. Elliott grabbed her neck, Thompson told police, and pinned her to the floor. He climbed on top of her and shook her, she said. “I started gasping for breath, and then he put his other hand on top of it to pick me up by my neck,” she told police.
Thompson said it went on for 40 to 50 seconds. She said he tossed her aside and said, “I’m not dealing with your dumb ass anymore.” He got into the bed and said: “Try to leave and see what happens.” Thompson said she lay down, but she was too scared to fall asleep.
When he woke up, Thompson said Elliott told her: “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
Tiffany Thompson’s injuries
This is the diagram of Tiffany Thompson’s injuries recorded by the Columbus City Attorney’s Office on July 22, 2016. Each V represents a visible bruise, mark or injury. Hover over or tap the red circles to see photos provided to police by Thompson.
The birthday party
The 21st birthday celebration occurred late on the night of Thursday, July 21. Elliott’s birthday is July 22nd. The incidents of the night and early morning have received the most attention because it’s when Thompson called police and filed two reports. One was for the abuse she says occurred over the days leading to the party. In the other, she accused Elliott of yanking her out of her car.
That claim has been found to be false by the NFL.
Elliott held his party at The Social Room, where a VIP area was roped off. It was organized in part by his father, Stacy, who attended. According to witness statements, Elliott told friends earlier in the night that he didn’t want Thompson to come, but she attended anyway. At one point, she asked Elliott if he wanted her to go home with him, Elliott said in a witness statement. Elliott said he told her no, and she responded by telling him she would ruin his night. Elliott eventually kicked Thompson and her friend Ayrin Mason out of his section, but they remained at the club. Thompson texted him to say she would call the police, investigative documents show, and Elliott said she called him 40-plus times that night.
When Thompson left the club, witnesses say she got into a physical fight with another woman about 2:15 a.m.
Thompson and Mason were waiting in the parking lot of the Carriage House, site of Elliott’s afterparty, when the rest of the group arrived. According to Taylor Sandbothe, the female designated driver who drove Elliott there, Thompson approached Sandbothe and Elliott in the car as the roof to the convertible car closed. Thompson aggressively insulted Sandbothe, but Sandbothe remained between Elliott and Thompson as they went into the residence and left Thompson outside.
Several affidavits and witnesses from the night say that Thompson directed a threat at Elliott.
“She screamed, ‘I am going to ruin your career, you have messed with the wrong person!’ ” Elliott wrote in his witness statement.
Thompson called police to file the reports. During that time, Mason said Thompson texted her and told her to lie to the police about Elliott assaulting her that night. Mason did not do so, telling the police the truthful version of events, she said, and the text messages are also part of police evidence.
Points of contention
Here are some of the main points of contention, what the NFL and Elliott’s representatives say about them and/or what the investigative documents show:
Part of Elliott’s defense is that Thompson could have suffered bruising not at his hands but from the fight she was in with another woman outside of the club the night of his birthday party. Affidavits of witnesses and local police officers on the scene describe the incident as a brief fight, possibly as short as “60 seconds max.” Witnesses described hair pulling, pushing, slapping and punches. Mason, Thompson’s friend, said she pulled Thompson back by the waist and witnessed mostly hair pulling. The NFL doesn’t believe the fight is a viable explanation for the bruises.
Elliott says in documents from the night of his birthday party that he and Thompson never dated and just had a sexual relationship. Text messages in police evidence show Elliott telling Thompson she is his girlfriend, though he doesn’t like to admit it, and that he loves her and can’t lose her. Elliott acknowledged to police that he paid Thompson’s rent and co-signed on her vehicle.
Text messages from the night of Elliott’s birthday include him asking why Thompson isn’t celebrating with him, telling her she wants to ruin his birthday and writing “U don’t love me.”
Thompson lied about Elliott yanking her out of her car. Why isn’t that enough to prove she’s unreliable? The NFL says it took that specific falsehood into account and still believed her in the other incidents. The NFL also considered that the Columbus City Attorney’s Office found her credible, though it did not think it had a case it could prosecute.
Did anyone else witness the alleged violence during that week? Jackson, Elliott’s friend, said he did not hear or witness incidents or see bruises on Thompson. He stayed in the same apartment with the couple at times that week. Jackson is the same friend of Elliott’s who was arrested earlier this year in Columbus on a charge of felony illegal gun possession in a liquor establishment. Elliott was spotted talking to him outside a night club after his arrest. The charge has been dismissed. Elliott once lived with Jackson and Joey Bosa, a former Ohio State standout defender who now plays in the NFL for the Chargers.
Other affidavits from the week claim no bruises were visible on Thompson, including while she was wearing a bikini at a pool.
Elliott’s camp has also argued that some of Thompson’s bruises predated Elliott’s arrival in Columbus. Mason told police she believed Thompson had some bruises before Elliott’s arrival.
The NFL says it has proof Thompson took photos of bruises at the time and sent them to her mom and aunt, and told Mason who had caused them during that week. Mason told police that Thompson had told her she was considering calling the police about abuse at the hands of Elliott earlier in the day on the 21st. Mason told police she would not want to testify if the case went to trial because she is friends with Thompson and Elliott.
The NFL said it has doubts about some of the affidavits provided by Elliott because the witnesses did not consent to interviews.
The NFL did not include in its report that it looked into an incident in February 2016 when Thompson called police in Aventura, Fla., where Elliott was preparing for the NFL draft. She accused Elliott of pushing her into a wall after an argument. Elliott said Thompson became upset over a social media incident and when she was asked to leave and return to Ohio. Police said Thompson had no obvious injury. USA Today first reported last year that NFL investigators had reached out for details about the incident. No arrests or charges resulted from the incident.
When Thompson gave an interview to police she said Elliott had lost control with her previous to the events in July, including pushing her into a wall and hitting the side of her jaw.
The NFL’s findings
In a letter released to Elliott, which was immediately made public, and via a news release and a conference call with reporters, the NFL explained that it:
Used four independent advisers to review the findings of its investigation and meet with Elliott and his representatives. They are Peter Harvey, Esq., former Attorney General for the State of New Jersey; Kenneth Houston, former player and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; Tonya Lovelace, CEO of the Women of Color Network, Inc.; and Mary Jo White, Esq., former United States Attorney and former Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
They shared their opinions with Commissioner Roger Goodell, who decided to suspend Elliott six games, which is the baseline suspension for domestic violence according to the personal conduct policy.
Relied heavily on metadata in reaching its decision. The “data about data” allowed investigators to confirm pictures of injuries were taken when Thompson said they were and over the time periods she spent with Elliott. The NFL also enlisted medical experts who confirmed the descriptions and timing of when and how Thompson said she suffered the injuries. The NFL said Columbus officials did not have metadata available to them in their investigation.
Told Elliott: “There is no dispute that you and Ms. Thompson were together in the same location on the dates identified, and no evidence to suggest that anyone else could have caused these injuries. Thus, the Commissioner carefully considered the issues raised by the [NFL Players Association] on your behalf regarding witness credibility and alternative causation theories. However, in the Commissioner’s judgment, there has been no persuasive evidence presented on your behalf with respect to how Ms. Thompson’s obvious injuries were incurred other than conjecture based on the presence of some of her bruising which predates your arrival in Columbus on July, 16, 2016.”
Elliott questions credibility
Elliott announced he strongly disagrees with the NFL’s findings. The NFL says it took Elliott’s concerns about Thompson’s credibility into account before reaching its decision. The following items were known to NFL investigators and considered in the initial decision and in the NFL’s 160-page report, but publicly revealed this week:
Elliott remembers Thompson saying that she, a white female, would be believed over Elliott, a black male, according to information provided to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Phone records proved, Yahoo reported, that Thompson had a conversation with a friend in September, when Elliott was already starring in the NFL, about possibly blackmailing him with sex tapes and acquired an email address with the title of “ezekielelliot sex vids”
Thompson called Elliott 50-plus times in the early morning hours of Sept. 3. Elliott filed a harassment report with Frisco police.
The NFL accused the NFL Players Association of leaking information to smear Thompson. The NFLPA fired back and questioned the league’s ability to handle investigations and the validity of Elliott’s suspension. Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Harold Henderson, a former longtime NFL employee, to hear Elliott’s appeal. Henderson has heard about 90 cases since 2008, including those of former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and NFL Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson. If Elliott is not satisfied with the decision, he could file suit and seek an injunction to play while the case is heard. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has remained silent about the suspension, which is strikingly uncharacteristic of Jones, one of the most powerful men in the NFL. Jones had said multiple times before the suspension that he had seen no evidence of domestic violence and didn’t expect Elliott to be suspended. Elliott has not taken questions from reporters or spoken publicly since the suspension, aside from a statement released on Twitter.
Dive into the documents
Below are the full documents and photos used in the creation of this story. They were made public by the Columbus City Attorney’s Office.
Initial complaint form and police report
Tiffany Thompson statement
Ezekiel Elliott statement
Text messages from Elliott, Thompson, witnesses
Diagram of alleged injuries and photos
Police interview with Thompson
The following is the full transcript of an audio interview between investigators and Tiffany Thompson conducted during the investigation into allegations Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott physically abused her in July 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: Ms. Thompson, do we have your consent to record this interview?
Interviewer: Let’s start by looking at the relationship you have with Mr. Elliott. What’s the nature of your relationship?
Thompson: Right now, ex-boyfriend. OK …
Interviewer: How long were you guys dating?
Thompson: For a year… about a year.
Interviewer: Did you guys ever live together?
Interviewer: For how long?
Thompson: Roughly about three months.
Interviewer: Why did he move out? Did he move out or did he leave?
Thompson: No. I just went back home to my parents’ house.
Interviewer: OK. Has there been any history of abuse and violence in the past?
Thompson: There has.
Interviewer: Can you tell me a little more about that?
Thompson: He had lost control and had jammed me into the wall. Busted the side of my jaw. The one with the edges. My face looked swollen and a little bit bruised. And then I had thumb print marks on my hand.
Interviewer: And these were all different instances throughout the year?
Interviewer: Are there any police reports associated with these?
Thompson: There is not.
Interviewer: Is there only one back in February?
Thompson: There is. That happened in Miami. Him grabbing me, this happened in Columbus.
Interviewer: But in Columbus there’s no police report?
Interviewer: Why don’t you walk me through what happened on the 16th?
Thompson: So the 16th, I picked him up from the airport. Everything was fine. We went home, just us hanging out, and we had gone out that night. [We] came home and I asked him why a girl was calling his phone at the type of hour in the morning.
Interviewer: What time was it?
Thompson: Around 3 o’clock to 5 o’clock his phone was blowing up.
Interviewer: This was Saturday, correct?
Interviewer: And then what happened? Did he respond to that?
Thompson: Yes. He said don’t worry about my phone. Worry about yourself. And then he started cussing at me, calling me a b**. Got out of bed…
Interviewer: [Interrupts] So he started cussing and calling you a b** and what else, I’m sorry.
Thompson: And he got out of the bed.
Interviewer: Out of the bed. … where did he go?
Thompson: He came over to my side, grabbed me out of the bed and then he threw me up against the door in the bedroom. Then he placed his right hand around my neck and started choking me.
Interviewer: How long was he choking you?
Thompson: About 20 to 30 seconds.
Interviewer: Was he saying anything to you when he was choking you?
Interviewer: So he’s choking you, and then what happened?
Thompson: And then he lets go and he clinches his fist and he tries to hit me in my face. [I] bring my right forearm up to cover my face, and … I have a bruise there. And after I started crying. He asked if I was OK.
Interviewer: Did you respond?
Thompson: I did
Interviewer: What did you say?
Thompson: I said no, I wasn’t OK.
Interviewer: What did he say after that?
Thompson: Then he started to tell me he was sorry — that he didn’t mean to put his hands on me.
Interviewer: So he only tried to punch you in the face once?
Interviewer: Closed fist?
Interviewer: You said he was choking you for about 20 to 30 seconds. Did that leave a mark on Saturday?
Thompson: Yes. It left this mark over here.
Interviewer: So a bruise?
Interviewer: So he’s saying he’s sorry to you, he’s sorry for putting his hands on you, what happened after that?
Thompson: He just started talking to me normal.
Interviewer: Like nothing happened?
Interviewer: This was in the morning still?
Interviewer: What happens after that?
Thompson: I try to get my stuff and leave and he told me he didn’t want me to go anywhere–to lay down in bed with him. I was scared he was going to touch me again so I just listened to him and laid back down.
Interviewer: Did you fall asleep?
Interviewer: He did too?
Interviewer: What happened when you woke up?
Thompson: The next day, perfectly fine.
Interviewer: This is on Sunday?
Thompson: Yes. Sunday the 17th. We woke up the next day …
Interviewer: And what happened?
Thompson: And he was like … later on in the day … we slept until about 3, 4 o’clock.
Interviewer: In the morning?
Thompson: In the afternoon.
Interviewer: And then?
Thompson: And then we just went about our day. Still he didn’t want me to leave. My puppy was at his apartment and [I had] everything with me. He wouldn’t let me take any of my stuff.
Interviewer: You told him you wanted to leave the apartment?
Interviewer: How many times?
Thompson: Multiple times. Around like four times.
Interviewer: OK, then what happened?
Thompson: Sunday night he has plans with his friends, I had plans with mine and he left his house keys with me because he left before me. So then I came back and he was threatening me, telling me he was going to smash my car window. Smash my headlights out. Key my car. And if I didn’t unlock the door …
Interviewer: [Interrupts] I’m sorry, why did he start threatening to damage your car if he left?
Thompson: Because I left and I wasn’t home before him Sunday night.
Interviewer: So both of you went out that night?
Interviewer: And he was expecting you back at his new apartment?
Thompson: His old apartment, yes.
Interviewer: So he’s expecting you, and when you were out was he calling you?
Thompson: [He was] calling me, texting me, everything. I got home and he snatched his keys from me. And then, he took his right hand and like twisted my left arm. And I have a little thumb print right there.
Interviewer: OK so it resulted in a bruise?
Interviewer: What did you do with your car keys?
Thompson: [Pauses] He didn’t do anything with my car keys.
Interviewer: I mean, so when you got there, he took your keys right?
Thompson: I have my own key, and then like, his keys were on a lanyard.
Interviewer: All right, so he twisted your arm with his right hand and it resulted in a bruise. Did he say anything to you while he was doing this?
Interviewer: What happened after that? Why did he release you?
Thompson: His best friend Alvarez, from his childhood, told him to let go of me.
Interviewer: So this was in front of people?
Interviewer: OK, and he listened to his friend and let go of you?
Interviewer: All right. And then what happened?
Thompson: We kept arguing …
Interviewer: In front of?
Thompson: In front of Alvarez.
Interviewer: Is this all happening inside the home or outside?
Thompson: Inside. In the living room.
Interviewer: Who else is there? Just you three?
Interviewer: He lets go of you, you continue to argue, what are you arguing about?
Thompson: The past. In the past we had broken up for a couple of weeks. I was going to move on. I started talking to another guy. He didn’t like who I was talking to.
Interviewer: So you broke up with him?
Interviewer: How did you guys end up getting back together?
Thompson: He texted me all the time saying, ‘I can’t lose you. I love you’.
Interviewer: What upset him? What was your argument about? I know you were moving on, but what was it that triggered [the argument]?
Thompson: It was kind of like if I question him, he’s just going to throw it back in my face like — ‘Why are you questioning me?’– when this has happened in the past.
Interviewer: You guys are arguing, what happens next?
Thompson: So we were arguing and then he was like, ‘I’m going to leave for the night’. So then he gets his stuff and then calls one of his friends …
Interviewer: [Interrupts] This was another friend, not the friend that was there, correct?
Interviewer: Sorry, what were you going to say?
Thompson: But then he doesn’t end up leaving because no one was answering to pick him up. I let him stay.
Interviewer: Then what happened?
Thompson: So then I went back to bed and went to sleep, and then he came back and laid with me.
Interviewer: Were you still in fear at this time?
Thompson: I was.
Interviewer: So on Sunday, with his right hand he twisted your left arm. Is that the only way he touched you on Sunday?
Interviewer: OK. So you guys are asleep, are we into Monday now?
Thompson: We’re into Monday.
Interviewer: What were you two doing Monday?
Thompson: Monday we were just packing his stuff up. I finally did like a shower, got ready while he was doing all that. And then Monday night… so nothing happened at all like Monday during the day, but Monday night going into Tuesday morning he…he picked me up …
Interviewer: This is Tuesday?
Thompson: This is Monday night going into Tuesday morning.
Interviewer: You guys started arguing again Monday then? Monday night?
Thompson: Yes, Monday night.
Interviewer: About the same thing?
Interviewer: So you guys started arguing and what happens?
Thompson: So then he goes, ‘You’re in my house. You’re my puppy dog’. I try to get up and leave and he goes, ‘No. Sit the f* down’. [He] grabs me by my arms, throws me on the bed, [and] says, ‘Don’t move. Listen to me’.
Interviewer: He said what to you?
Thompson: He said, “Don’t move. You need to listen to me’. He takes my phone, my car keys …
Interviewer: [Interrupts] And then he picked you up with both of his hands, you’re in the living room or the bedroom when he told you to sit down?
Thompson: I was in the bedroom; I wanted to go out into the living room.
Interviewer: So he picks you up and where does he drop you?
Thompson: He picks me up and throws me onto the bed and tells me to sit down.
Interviewer: And then what happened?
Thompson: So then I keep trying to get up and he takes his finger and puts it in my face using an aggressive point going into my skin.
Interviewer: So he touched you with his finger. Where in your face?
Thompson: He was going like this. And then he like, kept like, smacking my face. He would grab it like this when I would look away from him.
Interviewer: Did you feel any pain when he would do that?
Thompson: Just, I’m really sore right here.
Interviewer: OK, and then what happened?
Thompson: So then I gave up, and he was like, ‘We’re spending the whole day together. You don’t have a choice but to.’
Interviewer: OK, and then what happened.
Thompson: So then Tuesday, he keeps going on. Tuesday night … I’m trying to remember …
Interviewer: It’s OK. Take your time.
Thompson: Tuesday night we just stayed in the house. We didn’t do anything.
Interviewer: Did he say anything to you on Tuesday?
Thompson: He was crying. He sounded so sorry. He was like, ‘What’s gotten into me?’. He was like, ‘All I want to do is lay here with you’. And he told me multiple times, ‘I always call it tough love. I love you too much’. The Wednesday comes by, and he tells me I need to go to my apartment to get clothes to go out with him. And then he send me the address to the rental he was staying at in Short North. The 29 West Third Avenue. So I went over there [and] we went out. As soon as we got home, he picks me up with both of his hands under my underarms …
Interviewer: [Interrupts] So this is when you returned to his rental place? Where are you? In the living room? In the bedroom?
Interviewer: So you guys are arguing about the same thing?
Thompson: I was sitting on the bed, and then he picks me up with both arms under my underarms — that’s where he placed his hands — carries me out into the hallway, throws me up against the door. It’s like a storage closet door. He throws me up against there, I fall, hit my head, I try to get back up …
Interviewer: [Interrupts] You hit your head?
Interviewer: Did you feel anything at that time? Like, what did you feel on your head? Dizziness? Did you blackout at all?
Thompson: I felt dizzy.
Interviewer: OK, you fall to the floor and then what happens?
Thompson: So then I try to get back up. He comes and he drags me. Tells me I need to, ‘lay my ass down’.
Interviewer: Where does he drag you?
Thompson: He drags me back into the bedroom. So then I try to get up to gather all my stuff once again to leave.
Interviewer: Before you gathered your stuff, what did he say as he was dragging you? Did he say anything?
Thompson: He said, ‘Don’t play with me.’
Interviewer: So he drags you, leaves you on the floor in his room, you get up to get your stuff, then what?
Thompson: He goes, ‘Where’s your phone at?’. He said, ‘I’ll call Johnny for you’.
Interviewer: Who’s Johnny?
Thompson: Johnny is the guy I started seeing when we broke up.
Interviewer: So was he being honest, or was he just trying to take away your phone?
Thompson: He was being honest. He took away my phone and then he dialed Johnny’s number because he has Johnny’s number also. So he dialed the number and he didn’t answer. I was like, ‘I don’t care’. So I started to bring up stuff that’s happened …
Interviewer: You bring up stuff that’s happened?
Thompson: I bring up stuff that’s happened. Like, meaning what he’s put me through with multiple girls cheating. So then that’s when I walked to the laundry room to make sure I didn’t have anything in there because the laundry room is connected to the master bedroom, and then I see him walking toward me. I turn around, and that’s when he grabs my neck. [He] pins me down to the floor …
Interviewer: [Interrupts] He grabbed your neck with one hand or both hands?
Thompson: He grabbed my neck with one hand, pins me down to the floor, gets on top of me and starts shaking me. I start gasping for breath, and then he puts his other hand on top of it to pick me up by my neck.
Interviewer: How long was he doing this for?
Thompson: About 40 to 50 seconds. [Cries] We can go on, it’s OK.
Interviewer: So I know this is really difficult, but you’re doing good, OK? When you’re on the floor, he puts his hand around, he’s shaking you, you’re gasping for air and he puts his other hand here to lift you. Where does he lift you?
Thompson: He lifts me up and then he throws me.
Interviewer: Where does he throw you?
Thompson: Away from my stuff. Then he turns me toward the bed …
Interviewer: What does he do next?
Thompson: He goes, ‘I’m not dealing with your dumb ass anymore,’ and lays in bed. He goes, ‘Try to leave and see what happens’.
Interviewer: He says I’m not dealing with our dumb ass anymore, what was it that he said afterwards?
Thompson: He says, ‘Try to leave and see what happens’.
Interviewer: OK, and then?
Thompson: So then I lay down, go to sleep, and I’m up an hour later and I’m so scared to get up out of bed and try to leave when he was sleeping.
Interviewer: You tried to leave while he was sleeping?
Thompson: I was scared to get up out of bed and wake him up.
Interviewer: So then did you fall asleep or…
Thompson: I stayed awake all day and just laid there. He ended up waking up and he said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’
Interviewer: This is the next day? On the 21st?
Thompson: This is Thursday. Something tells me he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him.
Interviewer: Does he do anything else on Thursday?
Thompson: No. he didn’t touch me on Thursday.
Interviewer: Did you end up leaving on Thursday?
Thompson: I did. He left, and as soon as he left I left.
Interviewer: Have you had any communication with him since then?
Thompson: Yes. We talked Thursday night.
Interviewer: Did he say anything?
Thompson: I told him that I couldn’t take this anymore and we needed to get the police involved. And he was like, ‘Where are you? You’re not celebrating my birthday with me? You don’t love me?’
Interviewer: He didn’t say anything about what had happened?
Interviewer: Was this messages or over the phone?
Thompson: Yes, this was text messages and I do still have them. He said, ‘You don’t love me’. He also said that he was ‘scared for us to be together’.
Interviewer: Did he elaborate?
Thompson: Because he didn’t want to put his hands on me anymore.
Interviewer: Was that through text message? Do you have that message?
Interviewer: What was the last thing he said?
Thompson: He kept FaceTime-ing me last night and calling me.
Interviewer: Did you pick up?
Thompson: I did pick up, but then I blocked his number. He told me I can get the police involved all I want. He’s going to win.
Interviewer: This was all over a phone call?
Interviewer: Anything else?
Thompson: And then he tried to tell me that I was lying. That no one is ever going to believe me. I’m just like every other girl.
Interviewer: And then what happened?
Thompson: I said he needed to cancel the lease and he said he wasn’t going to.
Interviewer: To the apartment he was previously at?
Thompson: He co-signed for me to have my own apartment in Dublin, and I told him he needed to cancel it because he pays all my bills, so I told him to cancel it because I don’t want to have any communication with him at all anymore.
Interviewer: Since then have you two talked?
Thompson: We haven’t talked at all today.
Interviewer: Has he tried communicating with you today?
Interviewer: Do you feel like there is anything else a prosecutor needs to know?
Interviewer: My last question for you is, what do you hope will come out of this interview? What do you hope will happen?
Thompson: Criminal charges, arrest and a protection order.