Forget about the football for a moment.

Forget about Urban Meyer and what he did or didn't know about the tumultuous home life of Courtney and Zach Smith, Meyer's former wide receivers coach.

Forget that Zach Smith is the grandson of the late Earle Bruce.

Forget all of that for now. Set all of it aside.

Look at this instead as a routine report of domestic violence involving regular people. Courtney Smith went to the Powell Police Department on Oct. 26, 2015, to report that on the previous night, her husband had berated her, cornered her in a bedroom so she couldn't leave, shoved her and left with their son. She went on to report a pattern of abuse and threats dating back years, including several instances in which, she said, he had strangled her.

Complete coverage: Urban Meyer/Zach Smith investigation

Without all the Ohio State trappings, this case would not have made headlines. Cases like it have resulted in misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, assault or menacing, maybe unlawful restraint.

What happened instead was a game of legal hot potato that persisted until police marked the cases closed in 2017. The court-ordered release of hundreds of pages of police records this week after a challenge by The Dispatch leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

Officer Ben Boruchowitz took Courtney Smith's first statement when she showed up on Oct. 26, 2015.

"She's petrified, and I really believe her," Boruchowitz told a prosecutor by phone. "... Based on the degree of violence that he's done against her, you and I both know when there's strangling and choking and those kinds of violence, (they) are pretty good indicators that there's a high chance he may actually follow through with it."

Nancy Neylon, executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, is struck by that remark.

"That is exactly precise," Neylon said. Domestic-violence victims with a history of non-fatal strangulation are seven times more likely to be killed, she said.

Records indicate that the officer contacted victim advocates, followed up with prosecutors and helped arrange for Courtney Smith to seek a civil protection order.

But after the discussion with a prosecutor, Boruchowitz told Courtney Smith that he could charge her husband with disorderly conduct, a minor misdemeanor that carries no possible jail time. The records indicate that she declined, although the decision to charge a crime always rests with police and prosecutors, not with victims.

Within a few weeks, Powell police had passed the investigation's results on to Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien for possible indictment on felony domestic violence and felonious assault charges. O'Brien said there wasn't enough evidence to present the case to a grand jury.

What about misdemeanors? A Delaware city spokesman said police didn't ask the city prosecutor to file misdemeanor charges, and a police spokeswoman said the department wouldn't talk about such strategic decisions made back then.

This is fact: Police file charges without consulting prosecutors all the time. All day, every day.

The longer you look at the sheer volume of the records, it becomes harder to reconcile how not a single misdemeanor charge was filed against Zach Smith in 2015.

Neylon described it as legal "tiptoeing" that suggests that who Zach Smith was might have superseded what he was accused of doing.

"I don't know why there wasn't at least a misdemeanor domestic violence (charge) in this case," she said.

In October, Zach Smith pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct to resolve a 2018 trespassing case. It was this case, in which he was accused of violating a protection order involving his now-ex-wife, that had led the media to sniff out the couple's history.

In November, O'Brien addressed state legislators in the Statehouse, calling for a law that would make domestic violence involving strangulation rise to the level of a felony.

"Given that there is no genuine dispute as to the dangers of strangulation, the proposed legislation would be a welcome boon to prosecutors across the state," she said.

In the Powell police report to O'Brien from 2015, Courtney Smith described at least five instances in which Zach Smith had strangled her.

Courtney Smith was dismissed by a share of Buckeye Nation this summer as vindictive, manipulative, stupid and crazy.

"She's not crazy," Neylon said. "It's the system that's crazy."