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D.A. on McCoy case: "We're not going to rush"

Posted at 12:30 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 17:26:08-05

The case involving Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, a nightclub brawl, and the hospitalization of off-duty police officers on February 7 has a brand new update.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's office, after being handed the case from the Philadelphia Police Department over a week ago, issued the following statement regarding the investigation surrounding McCoy:

My team and I are continuing to investigate the incident that took place at the Recess Lounge. Like with all investigations, I don’t comment about what I will or will not do until all of the evidence has been thoroughly reviewed.

I understand that people are interested in the outcome of our investigation, but we’re not going to rush because some people are impatient – and to say that I am unwilling to prosecute difficult cases is a little misinformed. I’m the DA who has prosecuted police, gone after priests who shielded pedophiles, lawmakers who were caught on tape taking money for political favors and the people who attacked a gay couple in Center City.

The people of Philadelphia elected me to charge the right people with the right crimes nothing more and nothing less. My only goal is to get it right, not fast. The last thing we need is a rush to judgment.

I can handle the challenge of difficult cases and I’m only going to operate on one timeline: The timeline that ends when all the evidence is collected, has been reviewed and I have made the decision to charge or not charge a case.

R. Seth Williams

Philadelphia District Attorney Office

Just last week, when the case was initially sent to the D.A.'s office, the police department recommended that charges be filed against McCoy in the case. There has been some public pressure by the head of the police union on the District Attorney to come to a decision sooner rather than later, which could explain Friday's press release.

Moments after the release of the statement, ESPN quoted a high-ranking Philadelphia police official as saying: ”This entire thing is a disgrace and a mockery. A lot of people are disgusted. I think the DA is frightened and wants this all to go away.”

According to John Gonzalez of CSN Philadelphia, the D.A.'s office was "pushing back" on immediately issuing an arrest warrant for McCoy, and that led to some "tension" between them and the Philadelphia Police Department because they didn't issue an arrest warrant for McCoy immediately. The report indicates the D.A.'s office had "questions about the conduct of the officers that evening, including that the officers did not call 9-1-1 during the incident and whether they were drinking to excess."

If you missed any of the details in the situation, here is the full recap of all the twists and turns over the past week-and-a-half:

WPVI, an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, reported last week that McCoy is expected to be charged in the case. The report also states that arrest warrants are expected from the District Attorney's office, and that police recommended to the DA that criminal charges, including aggravated assault, be assessed in the case, although it is unclear at this point in time to what level McCoy would be charged.

The report also indicates that the two off-duty police officers will not face any charges from the incident.

Jim Kenney, the mayor of Philadelphia, did not mince words on McCoy:

"If LeSean did what he did -- I mean I admired him as a player here in Philly -- but if he wants to pound our officers and stomp our officers, then he needs to pay the price and answer for his actions. You should be able to go out and Philadelphia and enjoy yourself and not get stomped."

McCoy's former defense attorney, Jack McMahon, told ESPN that if there was an arrest warrant put out for the running back, that he would turn himself in immediately. McMahon has since withdrawn from the case, and McCoy will now be represented by Philadelphia attorney Larry Krasner, according to multiple reports.

McCoy, the situation involving him, three other football players, and two off-duty police officers that ended up hospitalized has taken the next step -- and it doesn't appear to be a good one for McCoy.

Multiple national reports detail that an arrest warrant is expected for the McCoy case, and it's described by ESPN as "imminent." One of the two officers suffered an orbital fracture as a result of the alleged assault involving McCoy.

Although no surveillance video was available, a cell phone video of the alleged event has surfaced on TMZ. 

7 ABC has learned that the case has been sent over to the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia for review. It's still an open investigation, but the District Attorney's office has it now and will assess what charges should be filed in the case.

On McCoy's side, ESPN reported that he has hired Philadelphia defense attorney Jack McMahon to represent him.

According to WPVI, an ABC-affiliate in Philadelphia, two off-duty police officers were assaulted by McCoy during an altercation around 2:30 am Sunday in Philadelphia. Both officers were hospitalized after the alleged assault, and now McCoy has been calling around for a defense attorney, according to the same report..

McCoy and a friend were both a part of the altercation, although the Bills running back has not been arrested at this point in time. McCoy is, however, the focus of the investigation, according to the report, and a police report was filed at the time of the incident.

Police are said to be seeking arrest warrants, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The names of the four men in the alleged attack have been identified as McCoy, Curtis Brinkley, Tamarcus Porter, and Christopher Henderson, according to the Inquirer. The nightclub in question had video surveillance, but it was not working.

According to FOX 29 in Philadelphia, the investigation is centering around four NFL players -- including McCoy -- at the nightclub in the city. The report indicates that the fight initially started over champagne being delivered to the off-duty officers before the players. The cops were reportedly "punched," "kicked," and "stomped," and suffered injuries including a partially fractured skull, broken ribs, and a broken nose.

There is video tape from the evening, but none initially of the altercation, just of those involved being removed from the restaurant.

CSN Philadelphia reported that three off-duty police officers were involved, and former NFL running back Curtis Brinkley grabbed the bottle of champagne. The time of the altercation, according to the report, was approximately 2:45 am on Sunday.

The Bills issued a statement shortly before noon:

"We are aware of the reports regarding LeSean McCoy and in the process of gathering more information. We will not provide any further comment at this time."

Here is the report from the Philadelphia Police Department in full, which does not mention McCoy by name:

On Sunday, February 7, 2016, at approximately 2:45am, the Complainants were inside a Nightclub located at 1XX S. 2nd Street. An argument ensued as to the ownership of a bottle of Champaign, which led to pushing and shoving. At this point all below Suspects, engaged in a physical altercation with Complainant#1 who was then punched and knocked to the ground. While on the ground he was punched, kicked and stomped about his body and head multiple times by all four Suspects.  Complainant#2 and security guards intervened and broke up the attack and all parties were ejected from the club. Complainant#1 transported himself to the Hospital where he was treated for a laceration to his right eye, broken nose, broken ribs, and a sprained thumb. Complainant#2, was admitted to the Hospital where he received eight stitches over his left eye and is currently receiving treatment for a possible skull fracture.  The four suspects were subsequently identified through photographs by the complainants and by the security guards. Video surveillance was recovered from the outside of the club which shows both parties being ejected from the club; however, the incident itself wasn't captured on video.
The investigation is active and ongoing; all updates will be sent upon availability.
Complainant #1:  40yrs old B/M off Duty Philadelphia Police Officer
Complainant #2:  40yrs old B/M, off duty Philadelphia Police Officer.

Suspect #1:  27yrs old B/M
Suspect #2:  30yrs old B/M
Suspect #3:  27yrs old B/M      
Suspect #4:  26yrs old B/M

The complainants in this incident were off duty Philadelphia Police Officers and the Suspect are reported to be members of the National Football League. 

 

 

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia