Former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy will not face charges for his role in a February bar brawl in Old City that left two off-duty police officers hospitalized, District Attorney Seth Williams said Monday.
In an afternoon news conference at his office, Williams said that because of conflicting accounts about what happened at Recess Lounge around 2:45 a.m. Feb. 7, there was "insufficient evidence" for criminal charges against McCoy, three of his friends, or three off-duty police officers.
Williams said that although it was clear that McCoy's group and the officers had argued over a champagne bottle, explanations differed about how that confrontation had escalated into a physical fight, making it impossible to determine who was acting aggressively and who was acting in self-defense.
"It is our job to charge the right people and only charge them with the right crimes," Williams said, adding: "I am very satisfied that we did the right thing."
Reaction to the decision, which came after an investigation that spanned nearly two months, was swift.
John J. McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, blasted Williams, saying in a statement that "a vicious assault on off-duty police officers by a rich athlete and his friends goes completely unpunished.
"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."
McNesby said in an interview that the union would consider asking the Attorney General's Office to investigate the brawl and was exploring a civil suit on the officers' behalf.
McCoy's attorney, Dennis Cogan, said in an interview that he agreed with Williams' decision because his client had done nothing wrong.
"Facts are stubborn things," Cogan said. "You can't make the facts go away."
Williams said the investigation into the bar brawl included 44 interviews of 27 people, as well as a review of photographs and videos from inside and outside the club.
That effort revealed a number of agreed-upon facts, Williams said, largely about the events that preceded the brawl:
The officers and McCoy's group - including McCoy's college teammate, Tamarcus Porter, 27; and Christopher Henderson, 26 - were both in the VIP area of Recess Lounge after 2 a.m. Feb. 7. Each group ordered bottles of alcohol.
While an initial police report said former West Catholic High School star Curtis Brinkley was part of McCoy's entourage, Williams said Monday night that his office determined Brinkley was not there and that investigators believed the officers placed him there only after Googling his picture and texting one another after the fight.
The officers - Officers Darnell Jessie and Roland Butler and Sgt. Daniel Ayres - ordered four bottles of champagne at a total cost of $1,050, and McCoy's group ordered a bottle of tequila, Hennessy cognac, and champagne.
At some point, a member of McCoy's group - Williams did not identify him - began arguing with an officer over a bottle of champagne because he believed it was his.
That officer - whom Williams also did not identify - then "put his hands around the collar" of McCoy's friend, Williams said.
From there, the events become murkier, according to Williams.
It was unclear, for example, how the two men who were arguing ended up on the ground, Williams said. And although investigators spoke to the two officers who were injured, the officers gave differing accounts of how the fight began, he said.
One of them - Jessie, who was treated that night for head injuries - "didn't know how he got hurt, didn't know who hurt him, didn't know he was even hurt," Williams said.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry said that not knowing who initiated the brawl would be a fatal blow in mounting a prosecution in this type of criminal case.
"If you don't know how the fight started, you can't meet the burden to get beyond self-defense," he said. "You've got a hole in your case."
Barry said that investigators spoke with all three officers about the brawl, but that McCoy was the only one from his group to talk. McCoy, 27 - whom the Eagles traded to the Buffalo Bills last year - told authorities he did not know how the fracas erupted, Barry said.
Soon after the incident, TMZ Sports published a grainy video purporting to show McCoy throwing a punch into a crowd.
But Cogan, McCoy's attorney, said Monday that the running back was simply approaching to help his friends amid the mayhem.
Barry said that there was limited video from inside the club to help determine what happened.
Williams also noted that after the brawl, each participant declined to make a report when asked by uniformed police officers who responded to the scene. And Williams said the officers - who, like McCoy's group, had been drinking - declined medical attention outside the club, traveling instead to hospitals far from the club.
McNesby said the bottom line was that "two guys were assaulted," and that their attackers have been allowed to walk away.
"These guys were not just injured, they were seriously injured," he said.
But Williams said the evidence simply was not there to levy criminal charges against anyone involved.
"Only I can decide who gets charged and arrested," Williams said. "That's not something we take lightly."