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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane judge dismisses domestic violence charge against football legend Mark Rypien

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 30, 2019, 7:06 p.m.

Former WSU quarterback and Superbowl MVP Mark Rypien appears alongside defense attorney Chris Bugbee via video conference on July 1, 2019. On Friday, the domestic violence charge against Rypien was dismissed. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Former WSU quarterback and Superbowl MVP Mark Rypien appears alongside defense attorney Chris Bugbee via video conference on July 1, 2019. On Friday, the domestic violence charge against Rypien was dismissed. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

A judge on Friday dismissed the misdemeanor domestic violence charges against former NFL and Washington State University quarterback Mark Rypien, his attorney said.

Rypien was released from the Spokane County Jail in July after he was charged with fourth-degree assault. Both he and his wife denied the allegations. However, the police report shows that Rypien acknowledged hitting his wife on June 30 in their car near Maple Street and Garland Avenue.

“I want to express my appreciation to the citizen callers who reported this incident and to the officers involved for their efforts to protect Danielle on the day of this incident,” Rypien said in a prepared statement. “I also appreciate the professionalism of the officers, jail staff, court personnel and the prosecutor’s office in having treated me with respect and civility through a very difficult process.”

Rypien was charged with misdemeanor assault following a report filed by Spokane Police Officer Todd Brownlee. He responded to the scene on June 30 and spoke to the couple.

When Brownlee arrived, Rypien told Brownlee that his wife got the “wind knocked out of her” after he pushed her hands away from his face. Rypien told the officer that he responded after his wife had covered his eyes with her hands as he drove.

Later, as Danielle Rypien lay in the grass clutching her stomach and struggling to breathe, Mark Rypien reportedly told his wife to “tell the truth.”

“Did you hit her?” Brownlee asked Mark Rypien, according to the report.

“Yes, I did,” he replied.

In a joint statement sent in July by the couple and Rypien’s attorney, Chris Bugbee, the former Super Bowl MVP said he struck his wife in self-defense.

In an email message, Bugbee stood by his client’s statements, saying that while Mark Rypien admittedly struck his wife, it was in self-defense.

“He shoved Danielle back into the passenger seat with his right arm and elbow hard enough to ensure that he would move her out of the way,” wrote Bugbee. “So when the officer informed Mark that a witness had seen a man strike Danielle in the car, he told the officer that he was the person. There is no doubt that he struck her when he moved her.”

In his statement on Friday, Rypien said he does not condone domestic violence and again voiced his belief that he is suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive brain trauma.

“I want to be clear that I did not assault Danielle,” he said. “We were having an argument and she put her hands on my face, blocking my view of the road while I was driving. I shoved her aside out of actual fear that I might drive our car into a pedestrian, or otherwise cause a collision that could harm others or one of us. I had no intent to harm or offend (my wife) in any way.”

Rypien said he continues to work with a team of doctors and counselors to manage his condition.

“CTE can cause mood and behavioral disturbances that can include impulsivity, aggressiveness, anger and irritability,” Rypien said. “While it has been difficult for both Danielle and I to go through this process so publicly, we are grateful for the result.”

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