October 31, 2019
Habiba Youssouf and Sheilla Dingus
We are drawn to big headlines that flash across the bottom of our TV screens and the dramatic music accompanying developing stories, whether we are watching CNN or the NFL Network. Not to mention the grave facial expression, the solemn tone and delivery of the information by the correspondent or “insider” as they constantly glance at their cell phones as if waiting for more details. Just as quickly as news breaks, someone jumps on Twitter in hopes of being first to report, as other reporters scramble to get to press before their competitors. As the frenzy in frantic in newsrooms and on social media ensues with various reporters competing to be the first to report any additional detail associated with the news item, often fact-checking, and investigation is a luxury many do not have time for in today’s click hungry-media environment.
On Tuesday, Kamrin Moore was cleared of the domestic violence charges against him, but on July 15, he became the latest NFL player accused of domestic violence. When headlines such as the New York Post’s “Giants’ Kamrin Moore arrested for punching woman unconscious” emerged, blue checkmark holders and unverified users alike took to Twitter to share their opinions and condemn the “privileged and over-paid woman abuser” or fans using no reasoning aside from a botched fantasy football lineup proclaim the player’s innocence. Why is it so difficult to wait until facts are gathered and evidence presented to form an opinion?
Once the outrage fades, the story is quickly forgotten or relegated to the category of “just another story” in our collective brains, and its actors fade into an already crowded background to be replaced by a newer and shinier toy centered around the latest breaking news..
Having been raised by a single mother after his father passed away unexpectedly in 2010, Kamrin Moore poured his efforts into becoming a good student and a skilled athlete and succeeded at both. He received a football scholarship to Boston College where he was voted team captain. He majored in communications and earned his degree in only 3 ½ years. After his final season at Boston College, he revealed in an interview with Draft Wire that he’s an avid bookworm and discussed a long list of favorite reads. He also expressed his gratitude for the life-lessons that his coach offered during his time at Boston College. When the interview was conducted, he’d just had a workout with the New Orleans Saints, and shortly afterward was drafted by them in the 6th round of the 2018 draft, achieving his dream of playing professional football. Near the end of the season, he was traded to the New York Giants.
In January, Kamrin met a woman through Instagram and they met up a couple of times. Kamrin didn’t view her as someone he wanted to pursue a relationship with and ceased communication—at least he tried to—but the woman seemed obsessed with him. As documented in a court transcript, the woman continued to call him and engage him on social media. Though he asked her multiple times to “Go away!” she persisted. Kamrin blocked her on social media and on his phone, but she used multiple numbers to call or text him anyway. Finally, he did his best to ignore her and get on with his life.
On July 11, his life came to a screeching halt. That evening he received a text from the woman saying that she was nearby and asking to come over. Kamrin texted back, “No.” Shortly afterward he received another text in which she told him she was in his driveway. Kamrin didn’t respond. He turned the lights off and peeked out from an upstairs window and saw her in front of his home. She continued to text and Kamin continued to ignore her.
In retrospect, in an interview with nj.com, he told the reporter that he wished he’d called the police. At the time he hoped that if he ignored her long enough that she’d just go away. His present girlfriend was due to get off work soon, and he worried for her safety and texted to warn her that the woman who’d been stalking him was in front of his house. When she arrived, the situation exploded.
According to witnesses, the woman who’d been stalking Kamrin exited her car and attacked Kamrin’s girlfriend. His girlfriend fought back and the two women became embroiled in a nasty free-for-all. Kamrin, who was still watching from his upstairs window ran downstairs and outside to try to break up the fight, but it sounds as if the women were driven by rage by this time and twice Kamrin managed to separate them and twice they resumed their brawl. At one point the stalker’s friend who’d accompanied her and was waiting in the car drove away but quickly returned. When she did, Kamrin managed to separate the women a final time and the woman’s friend succeeded in talking her into getting in the car and the two drove away.
“They came here four squad cars deep. Eight police officers marched in here, like, ‘Are you Kamrin Moore?’” Kamrin told nj.com, “They’ve got my NFL profile picture in their hand already. Printed out piece of paper. They knew who I was.” On July 13, Kamrin was charged with third-degree aggravated assault and arrested. He would spend the following two days in jail.
On July 15, the same day he was released from jail, he was suspended by the Giants.
New York Giants safety Kamrin Moore was arrested over the weekend in Linden, New Jersey, for an alleged domestic violence-related incident. Moore has been suspended by the team pending further investigation. pic.twitter.com/HW0zRwsWEq
— New York Giants (@Giants) July 15, 2019
The news cycle was abuzz with Kamrin’s name and face, reporting “New York Giants safety Kamrin Moore has been suspended from the team after he was arrested in New Jersey over the weekend and charged with third-degree aggravated assault for punching a woman and knocking her unconscious after stepping on her neck in a domestic violence incident, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.”
The police report filed by the alleged victim was horrific. The unnamed woman claimed that on the night of July 11th, after driving several hours to Kamrin’s home in Linden, New Jersey, with a friend, she got into a fight with his girlfriend in the street in front of the home and over the course of this fight Kamrin “stepped on her neck and knocked her unconscious”.
From the beginning, he proclaimed his innocence but Kamrin’s side of the story was never discussed or considered.
The parties began submitting their evidence and testimony on August 8, and on August 15 after weighing the evidence and sworn testimony from Kamrin, his girlfriend, his accuser, and her friend, Judge Frederic R. McDaniel denied the accuser’s request for a permanent restraining order.
At the hearing a narrative completely different from the one reported by media emerged, leading the judge to conclude regarding the accuser, “Her conduct both before the July 11th episode and after the issuance of a temporary restraining order paint a picture of the plaintiff as a manipulative, jilted ex-girlfriend, engaging in inappropriate conduct aimed at the defendant to either punish his decision to end their relationship, or it’s a bizarre attempt to get him back in a manner ill-advised but common amongst unreasonable jilted paramours. It is consistent with her prior explanation that she will ruin his life.”
The following are some key excerpts quoting Judge McDaniel, taken from the hearing transcript.
As the transcript progressed, the narrative continued to unfold.
Both Kamrin and his current girlfriend stated that he used his body to quote, “pry them apart,” and in the nj.com story Kamrin said that he grabbed the accuser’s hand to pry his girlfriend’s hair from it, but staunchly denied ever striking the woman.
Both he and his girlfriend testified that the accuser’s injuries occurred as the two women fought each other, and the girlfriend said that she took full responsibility for the accuser’s injuries. She was also injured during the fighting.
Judge McDaniel reminded that the plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant assaulted her. Preponderance of the evidence is the lowest evidentiary standard in the justice system.
At this point, Kamrin and his initial attorney, James A. Abate, Esq., of the Law Offices of James Abate, after having successfully challenged the TRO and FRO, expected the charges to be formally dropped and the matter to be put to rest, but they were sadly mistaken.
Despite the lack of evidence to support that Kamrin had assaulted his accuser and despite overwhelming evidence that he was the victim of an obsessed stalker the DA refused to drop the case and continued to pursue criminal charges against Kamrin. Abate filed a motion for a speedy trial seeking to keep the case moving forward and toward a favorable resolution.
On August 25, Kamrin was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List placing his career on ice.
The District Attorney in Union County attempted to convince Kamrin to accept a plea deal, but he refused to confess to something he didn’t do. The DA refused to back away and on Tuesday, presented the State’s case to the grand jury.
Advocacy for Fairness in Sports spoke to defense attorney David Bahuriak, who was recently added as additional firepower to Kamrin’s legal team as it became apparent that the DA intended to pursue an indictment. He told us it’s rare for a defendant to prevail before a grand jury. “Prosecutors control that proceeding,” he said, “and…there’s no input from the defense. You know, it’s just a matter of them spoon-feeding information to a grand jury and the grand jury pretty much doing what the prosecutor wants them to do.” Bahuriak told us that he insisted that all the evidence be presented to the grand jury and it paid off. Every once in awhile there’s simply no evidence to support the DA’s case and this is exactly what took place on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, men in domestic violence incidents are pretty big targets… And then if they have money, they’ve got a big reputation, they’re, they’re a nice target for the state to make an example out of,” Bahuriak told us. Prior to the grand jury hearing Advocacy for Fairness in Sports spoke with some other prominent, but unaffiliated defense attorneys who’ve represented NFL players to get their reads on Kamrin’s case and it was a unanimous opinion that for an ambitious DA, an NFL player is the perfect target—something akin to a prize trophy, and unfortunately some prosecutors are more interested in pursuing trophies than justice. The same could also be said for some police departments.
Though Bahuriak said that Kamrin’s accuser “went out of her way to mislead the court, and went out of her way to mislead the police,” it seems that Judge McDaniel was able to see through the masquerade at the final restraining order hearing, which leaves questions as to why neither the police, nor DA were able to apply any objectivity. We asked Bahuriak for his thoughts, opining that it should have ended there. “Well, that’s true,” he replied. “There’s a good argument to be made for that. Yes. That’s a lower standard of proving and they couldn’t even sustain it at that level. Basically, I mean, at some point this case was going to have to go to trial, right? You can only play a poker game for so long; you can only pretend you have a good hand for so long. At some point, you have to play your cards. And it was clear to me as an experienced player that when those cards got shown, they weren’t going to be nothing…So it’s just a matter of them folding sooner rather than later.”
Unfortunately for Kamrin, “later” meant a year lost in his career. “It’s terrible,” Bahuriak said. “It’s not like a career like a lawyer for instance, or a writer, a journalist where you get better as you get older. You know what I mean? This is a career where you have a very short window to make your money, to make your mark, to build your brand… It’s not cool. It’s not fair.”
Kamrin’s agent, Eugene Lee issued a press release on Wednesday, stating, “Former New York Giants safety Kamrin Moore has been cleared of domestic violence charges by a Union County, New Jersey grand jury and has moved for reinstatement by the NFL,” Adam Schefter was the first to pick it up.
Former NY Giants defensive back Kamrin Moore was cleared of domestic violence charges by a Union County NJ grand jury. pic.twitter.com/it4BDUJlBd
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2019
A few outlets jumped into the news cycle and echoed the content of the press release, but thus far none have elaborated on the reasons why Kamrin was cleared. Wednesday’s news failed to replicate the frenzy that erupted when Kamrin Moore was charged. “Kamrin Moore Cleared of Charges” isn’t as flashy or emotionally charged as “Kamrin Moore Knocks Woman Unconcious.” Much of the public will likely never see the real story behind the headlines.
Believing alleged victims of crimes, especially in physical and sexual assault cases, since they are the only types of crimes in which the person making the allegations is subject to scrutiny from the get-go, should not stop us from considering evidence pointing to a different or at least to a more complex truth. Failure to do so serves no purpose, except maybe to give us the satisfaction to know that another abuser has been exposed. Kamrin was presumed guilty before he ever had a chance to give his side of the story and even after mounting evidence and the scathing words of a judge asserted the incredibility of his accuser and the falsehood of the allegations, the prosecutor’s office still decided to prolong Kamrin’s ordeal by moving forward with an investigation that had already fallen apart.
Ever heard the phrase “a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich”? It might sound like a ridiculous cliché but that’s what the prosecutor was counting on. Grand jury proceedings are one-sided. The prosecution presents its case to a panel with no opportunity for counterarguments aside from potential questions from members of the grand jury itself. If the prosecuting attorney is convincing enough, he or she will get that indictment regardless of whether the arguments presented would hold water at trial once subjected to cross-examination by the defense. Get the indictment at all cost and worry about the rest later. Make things last as long as possible in the hopes that the defendant gives up and agrees to a plea deal. If the words of Judge McDaniel were not enough, the fact that the grand jury empaneled to hear the case against Kamrin decided not to indict him should tell you everything you need to know about the strength of the case against him.
Despite beating the odds, Kamrin did not get lucky by emerging unindicted. In fact, he has been anything but since the whole matter started. He should have never been in a position to be accused of this crime if there had been room for him to be the victim of another crime. He was stalked, harassed and physically assaulted by the woman who became his accuser, but he never even thought about reporting it.
When he sat down with reporter Ryan Dunleavy, of nj.com, Kamrin told him: “I should have just called the police, but it’s said, “when stuff hits the fan, you go to what you know.” It wasn’t second nature for Kamrin to call 911.” How telling and how sad is that? A lot of things could have gone wrong had he called the police that night. Had he be seen as the aggressor, he could have ended up dead at the hands of those called to protect him. The countless names of Black people of all ages killed by police when they presented no danger and sometimes when they were seeking help come to mind.
Had he mentioned the harassment and stalking to authorities before that night would he have been taken seriously? After all, he is a big Black football player. A manly man. What is he scared of, right? There was no room for Kamrin to be a victim and a survivor and there is, in general, no room for men to be victims or survivors of abuse, whether emotional, sexual or physical. A case like his might hopefully help start a much-needed conversation and what he has gone through will serve a purpose that goes beyond his personal journey.
Editor’s Note: Kamrin Moore isn’t the first professional athlete to find himself in this position and unfortunately won’t be the last. In the future, we’ll be exploring how this happens, and how genuine accusers as well as those falsely accused pay a steep price. We’ll also be looking at another case in Union County, New Jersey in which another NFL player was falsely accused by over-aggressive prosecutors and police. We hope this will spark a conversation that will encourage our readers to think critically because there’s usually a lot more to the picture than the “Breaking News” flash indicates. This article has been updated to further reflect the work that James Abate performed on behalf of Kamrin.
November 1, 2019 UPDATE: Kamrin Moore has been reinstated.
I am thrilled to report my client @Kvmrin has been reinstated by the NFL. #BackToWork #NFL #TruthIsAbsolute
— Eugene T. Lee (@EugeneTLee) November 1, 2019
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Habiba Youssouf is a writer and blogger with a communications, event planning and public relations background. She has experience working in sports marketing, publishing and with non-profit organizations such as the Alzheimer Society of Canada. She is driven by a strong will to empower and uplift others, fight against injustices and disrupt the status quo. An absolute
music and sports lover, and a bookworm, Habiba is equally passionate about mental health, criminal justice reform, sports law, social justice, and advocacy. Born in Moscow, Russia, to Chadian parents, she was raised in France, where she also studied and started her professional life, before moving to Toronto, Canada, in 2009, where she still resides. Her blog is errythangnanythang.com
Sheilla Dingus founded Advocacy for Fairness in Sports in October 2016, after a stint with Defenders of the Wall, a New England Patriots based blog where she dived deep into the legal aspects of Deflategate. Along the way, she observed many inequities in sports and felt a need to address some of the under-reported stories in sports law. She draws from her background as a former professional dancer, who like many of the athletes she writes about, took an early retirement due to orthopedic injuries. After a return trip to college she worked for a legal software company, with seven years as a Project Manager and Analyst. She brings her analytical skills to the table in breaking down complex lawsuits, and enjoys pursuing her longtime interest in journalism.