In the early-morning hours of July 11, 2011, someone called the Lancaster, Texas police to explain that a man pulled a woman from a Mercedes registered to Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and dragged her to another car. A woman later returned with Bryant to the scene to tell the police that she wasn’t assaulted “in any way.”
Despite this conflict in the evidence, the Lancaster, Texas police officer didn’t enter the Wal-Mart store and request an immediate opportunity to review the available surveillance video. Which means that Wal-Mart didn’t officially preserve the video evidence that would have been captured by its cameras.
Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what Wal-Mart told Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal on Thursday.
“Wal-Mart director of national media relations, Brian Nick, said because no charges had been filed, the company would not have pulled the security footage at the time and created a videotape of the incident,” Kaplan writes.
Implicit in Nick’s answer is that security footage of the incident at one point existed and was in the possession of Wal-Mart for a period of time after the incident occurred. Nick also was explaining the company’s normal procedures in cases like this; as a corporate-level employee, he wouldn’t know whether someone at the Lancaster Wal-Mart decided on his or her own to preserve the footage.
Nearly two weeks ago, when I mentioned during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that multiple NFL insiders were investigating the existence of a videotape of an incident involving Dez Bryant, I made it very clear that I didn’t know whether a video exists. I still don’t know whether a video exists. I said that people who cover the NFL had been aggressively pursuing the story (including the possible existence of a video), and that many league insiders are aware of the story. Adam Schefter of ESPN thereafter confirmed that, indeed, people who cover the NFL had been aggressively pursuing the story.
Though I shared no specifics during the February 20 segment with Shan Shariff and R.J. Choppy of 105.3 The Fan, the police report obtained last month and published last week by NFL Media meshes with the details I’d been given back in November: (1) something happened outside a Dallas-area Wal-Mart; (2) the incident occurred in 2011; and (3) the incident involved a woman being dragged across the parking lot.
Currently, we know the Lancaster police department doesn’t have the video because the Lancaster police officer never asked to see it. We also now know that a Wal-Mart spokesman claims it didn’t preserve the video as a matter of corporate policy because law enforcement didn’t ask Wal-Mart to do so.
But we don’t know whether anyone at Wal-Mart preserved the images separate from an official law-enforcement directive to do so. We also don’t know whether Carl King or Christopher Mitchell, who arrived at the scene in an Escalade registered to Bryant to retrieve the Mercedes that was parked with the door still open, will share with the media what they know about the incident.
Likewise, we don’t know anything about Alex Penson’s knowledge of the incident; he’s the man with whom the alleged victim claims she simply had an argument. Even though the police report says the officers spoke with “all parties involved,” there’s no evidence that anyone ever asked Penson whether he was in the Wal-Mart lot on or about 6:00 a.m. on July 11, 2011, whether he had an argument with the alleged victim, and/or whether he dragged her out of the Mercedes registered to Dez Bryant and/or dragged her to another car.
It’ll be interesting to see whether King, Mitchell, and/or Penson ever talk to the media about what happened in the Wal-Mart parking lot that morning.