By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — “When that kind of violence is committed, it’s not acceptable. We witnessed something that was of a very violent nature and the law enforcement process treated it like it was a traffic ticket.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Gusty Thunderstorms To Roll Through Delaware Valley Before Record-Setting Heat Arrives On Saturday
Many thoughts went through New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney’s head when he saw the clip of Ray Rice punching his wife in a Revel casino elevator.
“That was a very violent act and for Mr. Rice he got caught on film. How many more violent acts like that happen every single day?”
Rice didn’t face jail time because he was allowed to participate in a PTI program. It is New Jersey’s version of a first offender program. It includes counseling for the behavior that led to the incident, such as anger management.
“PTI is a good choice to give somebody a second chance but some people need to receiver punishment due the first time around.”
Once the program has been completed criminal charges are usually dismissed and an arrest record may be expunged.
“It seemed like it was a light, lenient treatment and he is a celebrity, but we aren’t accusing anybody of that.”
I-Team reporter Charlotte Huffman spoke with a former Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor.READ MORE: Philadelphia's Parks On Tap Returns To Fairmount Water Works For Summer
He says the PTI program gives the offender the help they need instead of just throwing them in jail.
Former Atlantic County assistant prosecutor John Tumelty says, “Whether it’s domestic violence counseling, anger management counseling, drug or alcohol rehab, then that can be an important mitigating factor that would help somebody get into the PTI program.”
Sweeney is now asking the state’s attorney general to review the PTI process.
“To me the bigger concern was just the ‘okay well just do it this way. This is how we do it.’ No it’s not acceptable.”
Sweeney insists he isn’t pointing the finger at local law enforcement officials.
“We aren’t accusing the prosecutor of doing anything wrong, he is following a process that we might have to change legislatively.”
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has denied our interview requests, but officials there say they treated Rice like any other first time offender and stand by their decision.
For the latest coverage on Ray Rice, click here.MORE NEWS: EXCLUSIVE: Teen Pilot Who Landed Plane On Bridge In Ocean City Shares How He Survived New Mexico Plane Crash
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