As the fallout continues over the video showing Ray Rice assaulting his fiancée, a Philadelphia single mom is speaking out about her connection to the high-profile case. The same prosecutor and judge who kept Rice out of jail with a Pretrial Intervention Program denied her the same opportunity after she was arrested for carrying a legally-owned gun in the wrong state.
“They say you can beat up your wife, beat up anybody and get away with it,” said Shaneen Allen. “But if you’re a law-abiding citizen who wants to protect your family and you cross the line to the Garden State, you’re a criminal.”
On October 1, 2013, Allen, 27, was pulled over in Atlantic County, New Jersey for a routine traffic stop. When the officer approached her vehicle, the mother of two informed him that she had a handgun in the car and presented her concealed carry permit for Pennsylvania.
Allen quickly learned that her Pennsylvania gun license held no legal weight in New Jersey when instead of getting a traffic ticket, she was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and armor penetrating bullets. She now faces a possible 3 ½ to ten years in state prison.
Records show the director of Atlantic County’s Pretrial Intervention recommended Allen for the program. As in Ray Rice’s case, entry into the program would have kept Allen from serving jail time and expunged her record of any charges.
Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain and Superior Court Judge Michael Donio denied Allen’s acceptance into PTI however. McClain and Donio would later allow Ray Rice into the same program after he punched his fiancée in an elevator at the Revel Casino, knocking her unconscious.
On Tuesday New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney called for the acting Attorney General to investigate McClain and Donio’s handling of the Ray Rice case. NBC10 repeatedly tried to reach out to McClain for comment but our calls were not returned. McClain finally broke his silence Wednesday night and spoke to the Press of Atlantic City.
“I just want people to know the decision was made after careful consideration of the law, careful consideration of the facts, hearing the voice of the victim and considering all the parameters,” McClain told the AC Press.
As the frenzy surrounding the Ray Rice controversy continues, Allen is trying to keep her spirits high for her two sons. She’s unsure however whether an upcoming celebration of her son’s 11th birthday will be the last celebration she shares with them for a long time.
“I do not want all of this,” Allen said. “I just want my life back for me and my kids.”
Jury selection for Allen’s trial begins October 6.