Former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy won’t face any criminal charges for his part in a fight at a members-only club that left two off-duty police officers hospitalized.
Evidence was conflicting, and nobody knows who started the brawl, District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference Monday.
In February, a group of off-duty police officers ordered three $350 bottles of Champagne while lounging in the VIP lounge of a upscale club in Old City. The establishment, Recess Lounge, was running a “buy three, get one free” deal. The group of off-duty officers gave the free bottle to a woman who was celebrating a birthday.
But a fracas erupted after someone from the group including former Eagles star McCoy thought one of the off-duty officers was instead stealing their own bottle of Champagne.
A cell phone video shows McCoy and others kicking and punching the off-duty officers.
After a nine-week investigation and interviews with 27 people, Williams said the evidence is too weak.
“Only two individuals gave any information about how the physical contact initiated, and both of those versions were in direct conflict with the other,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry, who oversaw the investigation into the tussle, said 17 years of experience prosecuting “he-said, she-said” fights has taught him one thing.
“If you don’t know how the fight started, you can’t meet the burden to get beyond self-defense,” Barry said. “You got a hole in your case.”
In response, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 released a statement saying “apparently, assaults on video are prosecuted everywhere except in Philadelphia.”
John McNesby, who heads the group, further said that Williams is refusing to “do his sworn job and prosecute attackers.”
Williams said his office by no means condones bar fights. Still, in order to press charges, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged assault was not just self-defense.
“You’re allowed to use appropriate force to defend yourself,” Williams said. “Once you have repelled their force, you can’t go on the offense. You can’t chase them down the street and continue to hurt them.”
In the incident involving McCoy, it appears that he was defending his friend, Williams said.
One officer sustained a broken nose and broken ribs in the February fight.
“Most people would say there wouldn’t have been an investigation but for who’s involved. Some people would say most bar fights don’t end in any arrests,” Williams said. “All I can say is we attempted to be fair and to be neutral, not to be driven by our passions, to defend or prosecute anyone.”
The NFL has previously said it was planning to launch its own investigation into the episode.