Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's accuser also alleged there was incident in Florida

The woman who accused Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott of abusing her for five days in July also called police on him months before the NFL Draft, alleging she suffered left shoulder pain from the force of Elliott pushing her up against a wall during an argument that turned physical.

An incident report obtained Friday by USA TODAY Sports from the Aventura (Fla.) Police Department said there were no visible signs of injury and that the accuser declined to go to the hospital after police responded to a call about an altercation at Elliott’s apartment Feb. 12.

Elliott wasn’t arrested. Terry Chavez, spokesperson for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office, told USA TODAY Sports the case was not forwarded to prosecutors for review. Chavez said there's no record the accuser pursued charges on her own.

It’s unclear whether the NFL, which continues to investigate the July allegations against Elliott that were reported to police in Columbus, Ohio, is aware of the previous allegation in Florida and whether it could influence a decision on potential discipline under the personal conduct policy, given the report was filed before Elliott was drafted in April.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league doesn’t comment on active and ongoing investigations.

Elliott, who was in South Florida training for the draft at the time of the February allegation, told police the woman “became angry over a social media incident and upset because she was asked to leave his apartment, and go back to Ohio,” according to the incident report.

When the woman refused, the situation escalated, Elliott told police, according to the report. He said he attempted to go to his room and lock the door but the woman prevented him from doing so by grabbing him around the waist, and he pushed her to get her off him, the report said.

With no physical signs of injury and no independent witnesses, a report was taken and the woman was advised how to file charges, the report said. The woman received an icepack for her injury and left the scene in an Uber without further incident, the report said.

In the report, Elliott is referred to as a friend “With Benefits” of the woman, who told authorities in Ohio in July that Elliott was her ex-boyfriend and they had lived together for three months. In a statement made as part of the Ohio case, Elliott denied he dated the accuser or lived with her, though he acknowledged the two had a sexual relationship and he helped her with rent and co-signed a car lease with her.

The Columbus City Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges in the July case, citing conflicting and inconsistent information across all incidents.

Robert S. Tobias, principal assistant city attorney in Columbus and director the department’s prosecution resources unit, recently told USA TODAY Sports in emails he believes there were a series of interactions between Elliott and the woman “where violence occurred,” but he couldn’t conclude exactly what happened between them.

In response to a question this week about the allegation in Florida, Tobias told USA TODAY Sports his office had no prior knowledge of a police report and didn’t attempt to acquire it or look into the matter at all. However, the alleged incident did come up in the woman’s intake interview, in which she claimed Elliott “has lost control” and injured her in the past.

Elliott's attorney, Frank Salzano, declined comment Friday on the Florida allegation. Salzano released a statement Monday stressing his client wasn't charged in Ohio, criticizing the media for focusing on the NFL's investigation and implying the league's probe only remains open because of recent controversy surrounding its handling of the Josh Brown case.

"We firmly believe that the NFL should promptly close its investigation which is only open because of their apprehensiveness stemming from the recent scrutiny it has come under for its handling of other domestic violence matters," Salzano's statement said. "Notwithstanding the forgoing, we remain firm that the NFL will clear Mr. Elliott of any wrongdoing and this matter can be finally put to rest."

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told USA TODAY Sports last weekend Elliott’s dealings with women didn’t come up in the team’s evaluations before it drafted him No. 4.

The NFL applies a lower burden of proof than the justice system. Even absent criminal charges, a player can be placed on paid leave if an investigation leads the commissioner to believe a violation may have occurred, and disciplined further – including a suspension – if “credible evidence establishes” a violation did occur. Prohibited conduct includes “actual or threatened physical violence against another person.”

Elliott leads the NFL with 799 rushing yards this season for the Cowboys, who are on a six-game winning streak entering Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

USA TODAY


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