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Assault complaint filed against Rams' Aaron Donald

Jeff Eisenberg
·3 min read
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A Pittsburgh attorney said Wednesday that he has filed a criminal complaint against Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the wake of an alleged altercation last weekend.

Attorney Todd Hollis told Yahoo Sports that Donald assaulted his client, DeVincent Spriggs, outside a Pittsburgh after-hours club in the early morning hours of April 11. Hollis said the incident left Spriggs with an array of injuries including a concussion, a broken nose and eye socket and a cut near his right eye that required 16 stitches.

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The incident began inside the club when Spriggs accidentally bumped into Donald, Hollis said. According to Hollis, both men were asked to leave the club, but when Spriggs attempted to walk away, Donald and his friends attacked him.

Hollis said that Donald and his friends kicked and punched his client outside the club. Only a friend of Spriggs jumping in and covering Spriggs with his body prevented the injuries from being even worse, Hollis said.

“Mr. Spriggs is a relatively big man,” Hollis said. “Had it been a smaller man, he could have been killed.”

It is Pittsburgh police policy not to name alleged suspects or victims unless charges are filed, but the department did confirm on Wednesday afternoon that it received an assault complaint earlier that day. Detectives intend to review the complaint and any available video footage in consultation with prosecutors, who will decide whether charges are warranted.

Pittsburgh police first spoke to the complainant at a Pittsburgh hospital shortly before 1 p.m. on Sunday. The complainant’s version of what happened mirrored what Hollis described, though the police said in that conversation the complainant admitted to “throwing a bottle of alcohol.”

It's likely that charges will be filed against Donald, according to Pittsburgh attorneys who are familiar with the case but are not directly involved. Criminal defense attorney Andrew Stiffler told Yahoo Sports that misdemeanor simple assault and harassment charges are the minimum Donald could face and that the district attorney's office could decide that it rises to the level of felony aggravated assault. 

Under Pennsylvania law, aggravated assault is defined as an attempt to “cause serious bodily injury to another” or to cause such injury "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.” Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Ryan Mergl told Yahoo Sports that Spriggs' injuries are severe enough to fit that description.

"Those sound like aggravated assault charges to me," Mergl said.

Donald, a Pittsburgh native and a former college star at Pitt, is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who has made the Pro Bowl in each of his seven NFL seasons. The Rams released a statement Wednesday saying they are aware of the reports regarding Donald.

"We are collecting more information and will have no further comment at this time," the Rams statement said.

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