No charges for LeSean McCoy in the nightclub brawl
LeSean McCoy will not face charges for his role in a fight that broke out over an expensive bottle of champagne earlier this year, District Attorney Seth Williams announced Monday.
Surely you’ve heard by now about the high-profile February brawl involving the former Eagles-turned-Buffalo Bills running back and three off-duty Philadelphia police officers.
The DA’s nine-week investigation into the incident — 27 witnesses, 44 interviews, reviews of medical records, photographs and surveillance video — offered a clear enough picture of what happened that night, but there was “insufficient evidence” to bring legal action against McCoy or his friends, Williams said.
On Feb. 7, the two groups were partying at their respective tables in the VIP section of the Recess Lounge nightclub in Old City. The group that included the two off-duty cops ordered the champagne special — buy three $350 bottles of bubbly, get a fourth one free. (That’s $1050 total, without tip.) Meanwhile, McCoy’s group placed an order for a bottle of Hennessey, a bottle of tequila and a bottle of champagne.
There was confusion about whose champagne bottle arrived first.
Expletives flew back and forth. Everyone had been drinking. Someone put a hand on someone else’s collar. Those three things are clear, Williams said, but his investigation could not determine who was at fault for the altercation’s violent turn of events.
The two off-duty police officers — one of which sustained a broken nose and broken ribs — reportedly gave inconsistent statements to the DA’s office.
“It was very clear early on in this case that two of the injured parties were the only two people who could say how it started, and they were in direct conflict with one another,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry said, adding that the officers misidentified people who were present at the nightclub.
Cell phone videos emerged after the brawl that show McCoy throwing a punch in the melee. Williams said that McCoy’s lawyer told them he acted in defense of his party, and the D.A.’s investigation could not refute that claim.
“Before we can charge a case, we have to know beyond reasonable doubt that it is not self-defense,” Barry said.
The nearly two-month-long investigation drew criticism from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. The union’s president John McNesby advocated for pressing charges against McCoy six weeks ago. After receiving the case from the Philadelphia Police Department, however, Williams said he wanted to be thorough.
Needless to say, the FOP took umbrage with Williams’ decision not to press charges. McNesby likened the bar brawl to that time Donald Trump’s campaign manager manhandled a reporter after a campaign event. He also compared it to the brutal beating of a New Jersey teenager that went viral two weeks ago. Both incidents were caught on video and resulted in assault charges.
“Yet, in Philadelphia, a vicious assault on off-duty police officers by a rich athlete and his friends goes completely unpunished,” McNesby wrote in a statement. “Serious and permanent injuries were inflicted on these officers as a result of a brutal assault captured on film, but a season-ticket hunting District Attorney refuses to do his sworn job and prosecute the attackers.”
Responding to McNesby’s remarks at a press conference Monday, Williams said he was not concerned.
For his part, McNesby said that he might explore other routes, including bringing the case to the Attorney General’s office.