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New Rochelle Torn Amid Ray Rice Domestic Violence Saga

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Ray Rice's fall from grace has created conflicted feelings in New Rochelle, his hometown.

After new video surfaced showing the NFL star hitting his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator, Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the NFL on Monday.

A day later, some in his hometown in Westchester County say it's about time, CBS 2's Lou Young reported.

"This should've actually happened when the allegations came," said Janet Carlson, an employee at Iona College in New Rochelle. "This should've happened a long time ago."

Others, however, insist it's a private matter.

"We're not in their life," said Leah Corona, a New Rochelle resident. "It's up to her and their counseling. Doesn't somebody get a second chance in America?"

It's hard to overstate the affection New Rochelle has for Ray Rice.

"He's a good kid," said Daryl Miller. "We watched him grow up here. He worked hard to get where he was at. He made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes."

Residents remember the state football championship Rice led New Rochelle High School to 11 years ago, his star turn at nearby Rutgers University and his triumphant return home after the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl win in February 2013.

"I'm disappointed because he came all that way to mess it up like that?" said Keyonne Davis, of New Rochelle.

For all the hero worship and praise his old school heaped on Rice during his rise to fame, the school district in New Rochelle has been silent in his hour of disgrace.

New Jersey Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera said forget what the NFL did or did not do, she and some colleagues fear that the criminal investigation was bungled by the Atlantic County Prosecutor. They want ti fxed.

Mosquera said she's angry that Rice was ordered into an intervention program for first-time offenders to avoid jail.

"He should have never been allowed to enroll in this program," she said.

On Monday, two bills are expected to be introduced in the New Jersey legislature. One bill investigates the decision, another bars anyone charged with domestic violence aggravated assault to go into a program instead of going on trial.

But, as CBS 2's Dave Carlin explained, this area of the law can be tricky, especially with a victim who is considered unlikely to testify.

"It is often the case that they blame themselves for the abuse," Liz Roberts, Safe Horizon, explained.

Students at Rice's alma mater don't know what to make of it.

"They started taking his jerseys down," said Jasper Baskerville, a New Rochelle High School senior. " ... I don't think they should have taken his jerseys down."

Meanwhile, there are hometown hopes for redemption even as locals acknowledge the severity of the offense.

"It's a reality check at the end of the day to see where he's got to get back to," said Devauntay Ellis, a running back at Monroe College. "Just like the whole situation with Michael Vick."

Added New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson: "We hope that there can be healing for everyone involved, but there's a recognition that this was a very serious incident and domestic violence is a very serious matter."

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