PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Shocking video now viewed millions of times on social media shows an ex-NFL player allegedly beating his ex-girlfriend in front of their child in Oakland Florida last Saturday.
The Oakland Police Department says the man in that video is Zachary Stacy, a former NFL running back for the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams. Efforts are underway to track him down.
The video was captured inside their home. It allegedly shows Stacy throwing his ex-girlfriend into a tv. Shortly after, Stacy is seen about to hit her.
Stacy then picks her up, and slams her on a baby bouncer.
Lariana Forsythe is the CEO of CASA, Community Action Stops Abuse, the certified domestic violence center in Pinellas County. She says 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence.
“It usually doesn’t start with violence, there are all sorts of other powering control issues that start much earlier in the relationship and when the person who is trying to maintain power can’t maintain power through those normal types of behaviors, that’s when it escalates to violence,” Forsythe said.
Forsythe is a survivor of domestic violence herself.
“I had no idea I was in a domestic violence situation,” Forsythe said. “I didn’t understand the power and control dynamics. My ex-husband wasn’t hitting me, but he was hitting the walls or busting up furniture or stalking, and these things I didn’t connect to domestic violence because at that point I wasn’t getting hit so it’s so important to educate people about those early warning signs so they know what they’re in.”
Forsythe suspects this is not the first time this woman has experienced something like this.
“One has to wonder why the video cameras are up,” Forsythe said. “Was this a way to try and provide some evidence? Maybe she was being preemptive and trying to make someone did see what was happening to her.”
The Oakland Police Department says Stacy fled the state. They are urging him to turn himself in and face the criminal charges.
Stacy played college football at Vanderbilt before being drafted by the Rams and playing two seasons with them. He joined the Jets in 2015, but retired two years later due to injuries. He briefly joined the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and also played for the Alliance of American Football’s Memphis Express.
CASA, and the Spring of Tampa say if you’re a victim, call your local domestic violence center. There are advocates who are trained to help people figure out what they can do to safely leave the relationship.
If you or someone you know are experiencing abuse and need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. CASA in Pinellas County also has a hotline (727-895-4912) and more resources on their website, www.casapinellas.org
The Spring of Tampa Bay has a 24-hour crisis hotline: call / text (813) 247-safe • tty: (813) 248-1050 and more information on their website, https://thespring.org/