A court commissioner released former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien from jail Monday at the behest of his wife, named in court records as a victim of domestic violence.
Spokane police arrested Rypien near Maple Street and Garland Avenue on Sunday evening. They found the former Washington Redskins quarterback standing near the Washington Trust Bank branch while his wife was lying in the grass. She was evaluated but did not need medical treatment.
Rypien, 56, was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, according to KHQ video. He was jailed at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday night on a recommended charge of fourth-degree domestic violence assault, a misdemeanor.
Reading from a police report in Spokane Municipal Court, city prosecutor Lynden Smithson said Rypien is accused of hitting his wife in the stomach as the two were driving along Maple Street.
However, Smithson and YWCA legal advocate Kami Schiller also said Rypien’s wife did not wish to press charges, nor did she support a no-contact order requested by the prosecution.
She also told officers her husband shouldn’t be in jail. State law requires mandatory arrest when police respond to domestic violence.
“The victim said multiple times, ‘What do I have to say to not have him arrested,’ ” said Smithson, referencing the report. While attorneys have access to the full police report, a copy was not included in the court public file.
Commissioner Kristin O’Sullivan agreed to release Rypien, who pleaded not guilty, without a no-contact order. In her reasoning, she said that though she had concerns about the nature of the crime, she didn’t believe he was at risk to commit a new crime, or fail to show for court.
Defense attorney Chris Bugbee, speaking for Rypien who sat silently in a jail conference room dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, said Rypien didn’t assault his wife. He said his client instead was attempting to remove her hands from his eyes, which were placed there during an argument.
“There was no crime committed here,” Bugbee said. “We believe an investigation will show that.”
Rypien has said he believes he has chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive brain trauma – after playing in the National Football League for 11 seasons. A diagnosis of CTE can only be made with an autopsy. Rypien played football at Washington State University and Spokane’s Shadle Park High School before advancing to the NFL.
In an interview with the Spokesman-Review last year, he acknowledged that he was involved in a domestic violence incident in November 2017. His wife was arrested, but he and his wife indicated that he was most at fault.
As the couple prepared to go out to an event, she sensed agitation on Rypien’s part and probed for the reasons. Triggered by too many “why questions,” he said, a verbal altercation ensued.
“I got angry, and I threw her on the bed a couple of times,” he said last year.
Police were called and his wife was taken to jail.
“I had some bruises. I wasn’t black-and-blue,” his wife said last year. “And I don’t regret it, per se, but I did not tell the police what happened. I didn’t see any good coming from that. If they had locked Mark up, what’s that going to do? Lock up someone who’s on a medication? If he were doing this all the time, that would be different. This was a fluke thing.”
The misdemeanor assault charge against his wife was dismissed.
Rypien and his wife blamed a medication change for his behavior.
Staff writer Rebecca White contributed to this report.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.