Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti called a press conference Saturday to discuss the case of Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling, who was arrested Thursday for felony domestic battery on a woman he should have known was pregnant.
(Merling escorted out of jail through side exit by Pollock (inset))
More specifically Lamberti called the media together on a holiday weekend to vent his anger about Merling being given a stealth exit from Broward County Jail - to escape the gathered press - after he posted $15,000 bond. The MIAMI NEW TIMES reports that Dolphins security officer and Broward County Courthouse official Alvin Pollock was responsible for escorting Merling through a side exit. Pollock also gave Merling a ride home.
Lamberti reported that an investigation has been launched to determine why Merling was afforded such treatment: “We’re not in the business of giving people arrested for felonies rides home. Not going to be tolerated.“
The Sheriff’s office also released the 911 call (audio) from Merling’s pregnant girlfriend. The woman, who also has a 4-month-old child with the 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive end, made the call from their home in Weston, FL at 1:36 a.m. Thursday.
From a bathroom where she had barricaded herself, the woman can be heard making a desperate plea to police:
“This is an emergency. Please come help me. His name is Phillip Merling. He hit me about five times in my face. What is the address? Please come. STOP!”
While the woman was on the call, as Merling tried to break into the bathroom, she was asked by the 911 operator if this had happened before.
Merling’s pregnant girlfriend said, “yes.”
Ben Volin of the PALM BEACH POST reports Merling practiced with the Dolphins on Friday and Saturday and after each practice ran past reporters, refusing to answer any questions.
Dolphins Coach Tony Sparano said the club had no plans to discipline Merling at the moment: “We’re going to let the process play itself out right now and see what the league decides down the road.”