As prosecutors in Philadelphia continue to consider whether to charge Bills running back LeSean McCoy with assault, and as representatives of the police department continue to clamor for charges to be filed in a case involving serious injuries to off-duty officers, a dispute has emerged over who started the fight that sent two of the officers to the hospital.
Over the weekend, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News laid out the case in detail, considering both sides. On the side of the officers, the contention is that McCoy committed assault, and that charges should be pursued. The local police union has suggested taking the matter over the head of the Philadelphia District Attorney, or possibly filing a private criminal complaint.
From McCoy’s perspective, as reported by Carucci, one of the officers had his hands around the neck of Ronald Butler, a former Pitt running back who was with McCoy that night. McCoy, per his version, was simply reacting to that provocation.
Multiple videos have emerged from the night in question, but there’s nothing with the kind of clarity that would deliver a slam-dunk finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Which likely explains the hesitation of prosecutors. Throw in the fact that McCoy has the resources to afford a lawyer who will be far better equipped than a public defender to mount an if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit defense, and that’s even more reason for prosecutors to be hesitant to pursue what could be a losing cause.
However it turns out, remember that the post-Ray Rice NFL no longer defers to the outcome of the justice system. McCoy can still be investigated and disciplined based on a much lower standard of proof. So even if he’s not charged, McCoy still could be suspended.