|Seth's ADAs hard at work?|
It's taken more than six weeks for the district attorney's office to investigate a 10-minute bar fight.
And they're not done yet. We still have no idea what the D.A. ultimately will do about LeSean "Shady" McCoy, the former Eagles and current Buffalo Bills star running back who got involved in a Feb. 7th fracas at the Recess Lounge.
It ain't Watergate that the D.A. is investigating. After six weeks, you have to wonder what's taking so long.
For the past several weeks the rumor mill has it that prosecutors realize the case has so many problems they won't be able to charge anybody. The bar fight has been described as a can of worms that the D.A. doesn't want to open. Supposedly, the D.A.'s office was going to call a press conference in the near future to explain why Shady and friends will walk.
But Cameron Kline, the D.A.'s spokesman, shot that down. "I can say the office is continuing to investigate and no press conference is being scheduled," Kline said today.
Considering the facts of the case, a couple of prominent criminal defense lawyers who prefer not to be identified predict that the D.A. won't be able to prosecute anybody. But Seth Williams does have a political problem on his hands. Two off-duty cops were seriously injured in the fight and our hang-em-high mayor and FOP president have already called for arresting Shady and his pals. That's what appears to be taking so long: our publicity hound of a D.A. is still trying to figure out how to explain no arrests without taking a political hit.
|Can you smell what the D.A.'s cooking?|
Two of the three off-duty cops involved in the fight were seen by witnesses drinking earlier in the night at another lounge. The two cops appeared to be intoxicated before they got into their cars and drove to the Recess Lounge, witnesses told investigators.
The fight was allegedly started by one of the off-duty cops, Officer Roland Butler, who supposedly swiped a $350 bottle of pink champagne off McCoy's table. Then, when Shady's friends protested, Officer Butler, at 6-foot-4 and at least 250-pounds, allegedly grabbed one of McCoy's friends, former Pitt running back Tamarcus Porter [6-foot-1, 195-pounds] by the neck, and body-slammed him to the ground.
During the brawl, a witness saw one of the off-duty cops, Sgt. Daniel Ayres, reach for a black 9 mm pistol in a holster on his right hip. That's when the witness supposedly told McCoy, "Shady, he's a cop." [McCoy, however, told his lawyer he didn't see any gun].
If the sergeant did have a gun, this would be a problem in Philadelphia, where the police commissioner has a directive that says off-duty cops aren't allowed to carry their guns into bars. There's also the question of whether the other two off-duty cops were also carrying guns in a club where cop patrons routinely aren't frisked.
Then there's the problem of why the cops didn't call 911, which is what they're supposed to do when they're involved in an off-duty incident. And why Officer Butler drove around for a while before seeking treatment at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Upper Darby.
That's a lot of explaining to do that could wind up with some of the officers facing serious disciplinary measures along with nursing those injuries they got in the fight.
One thing's for sure. In the six weeks since the fight, the D.A.'s office hasn't been too busy investigating. One witness who knew Officer Butler was drinking that night was contacted by police detectives, rather than any of the detectives assigned to the D.A.'s office.
Dennis Cogan, McCoy's lawyer, who usually plays his cards close to the vest, was supposedly quite upset about that, according to a source. Especially since it was police department detectives who initially investigated the case in what could be described as a less-than-thorough fashion, and wanted to arrest Shady and his pals.
|Shady and his lawyer|
Cogan wouldn't talk about the details of the investigation when I asked him about it. But he did take a shot at FOP President McNesby for politicizing the incident.
It was McNesby who went on the WIP radio show a month ago to declare that "If he [the D.A.] doesn't charge the group of individuals that were there that night," it would be an "absolute disrespect to Philadelphia police officers."
"It's McNesby who was disrespecting the rank and file, good and honest cops by putting them in the same hodgepodge with some off-duty cops who may or may not be acting off-base," Cogan said. "He [McNesby] is dishonoring the rank and file. Not Seth Williams by not charging anybody."
McNesby, who has been noticeably quiet about the case for the past month, did not respond to a call requesting comment. Brian McMonagle, a FOP lawyer defending the off-duty cops involved in the fight, also did not respond to a request for comment.
A month ago, when Cogan was hired by McCoy, the defense lawyer telephoned the district attorney's office and offered to show up and explain his client's side of the story. The D.A.'s office responded that they'd welcome the meeting, whether Cogan brought his client along or not.
But McCoy wanted to come, so the meeting was scheduled for Feb. 22nd at the district attorney's office. Hours before the meeting, however, a media throng, tipped off by the cops, gathered outside the district attorney's office. McCoy's lawyers balked at staging what might look like a "perp walk" starring McCoy.
So the district attorney agreed to move the meeting to Cogan's office at 2000 Market Street. But the location of that meeting was also leaked to the news media by police detectives.
After the D.A. met with McCoy, McNesby attempted to make some political hay out of it.
"If that's not preferential treatment, what is?" McNesby told CSNPhilly.com. "To have a D.A. personally meet with a potential defendant or his lawyer before being charged is bizarre."
|Not ready for his closeup|
According to a source, if he's even suspended for one game, McCoy, would stand to lose all of the guaranteed money in the $40 million contract that he signed last year, reported to be at least $18 million. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills, a billion-dollar corporation, have to be wondering whether they'll need to draft a replacement for their star running back at the NFL draft next month.
That's a lot riding on a Philly D.A.'s investigation that continues to proceed at a snail's pace. While the head guy appears to be more concerned about his image rather than just doing his job.