Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday a local prosecutor has reopened a domestic violence investigation involving suspended wide receiver Tyreek Hill after a TV station broadcast audio in which Hill and his fiancee discuss injuries to their three-year-old son.
Reid and general manager Brett Veach both declined comment about Hill’s case and potential next steps involving their star player. The prosecutor, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, did not return a message.
“I’m not going to have too much to add,” Veach said in response to multiple questions about Hill. “As I said yesterday, we’re going to continue to gather information, evaluate information and, as I said yesterday, we’ll make the right decision when the time is appropriate.”
Police were called to Hill’s home twice last month and determined the child had been injured. On Wednesday, Howe said he would not file charges against Hill or Crystal Espinal even though his office believed a crime had occurred. He said available evidence didn’t establish who had hurt the child.
“As a prosecutor, as a father of four, yes, it frustrates me when someone hurts a child and you can’t do anything about it,” Howe said then. “One of the elements of a crime is you have to prove who that person is who committed the act.”
A day later, KCTV in Kansas City aired part of an 11-minute audio file in which Espinal tells Hill earlier this year that when the boy was asked about his injured arm he replied: “Daddy did it.”
Hill denied any role in what happened to the child, saying: “He says Daddy does a lot of things.”
Espinal also tells Hill their son is “terrified of you.”
Hill replies, “You need to be terrified of me, too, bitch.”
Later, Espinal asks Hill, “What do you do when the child is bad? You make him open up his arms and you punch him in the chest.”
Howe has not responded to requests for comment about the audio recording, which the TV station said has been provided to his office. KCTV said the recording is believed to have been made in March when the parents were walking through an airport in Dubai. The station said Espinal sent it to at least one friend and was shared with KCTV “by someone who is concerned about the welfare of the couple’s child.”
Several media outlets reported that Overland Park police went to the Hill home on Thursday night after receiving an anonymous call from someone worried about Espinal. According to the reports, Espinal was fine and officers were at the home for only a short time.
The Chiefs have suspended Hill while the team looks into the developments. The NFL could also punish Hill under its personal conduct policy.
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Hill’s history with Espinal is well known. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation in an incident involving his then-pregnant girlfriend the previous year. The incident resulted in his dismissal from the Oklahoma State football team and he was put on probation until August 2018. He wound up playing at tiny West Alabama, where he juggled school and football with counselling sessions and other court-mandated service work until the NFL came calling.
Hill, a fifth-round pick who is a two-time Pro Bowler, was part of a controversial draft class by the Chiefs and then-general manager John Dorsey in 2016.
The Chiefs also spent a third-round pick that year on cornerback KeiVarae Russell, who missed an entire season for violating Notre Dame’s honour code in an academic misconduct case; a fourth-round pick on wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, who was suspended four times at Florida for drugs and other violations; and a sixth-round pick on Virginia Tech linebacker Dadi Nicolas, who was once charged with larceny and suspended for bumping an official. Among them, only Robinson is still on the roster.
Last year, the Chiefs released star running back Kareem Hunt following a video that showed him pushing and kicking a woman in a hotel hallway. Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming season but has a one-year deal with Cleveland under Dorsey, the Browns GM who signed Hunt while he was with the Chiefs.