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February 19, 2016

FOP's McNesby on LeSean McCoy case: 'How much more do they need?'

Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby harshly criticized the district attorney's office on Friday for its handling of the investigation into former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and the bar fight at Recess Lounge that resulted in injuries to two off-duty police officers.

McNesby was interviewed by Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Friday and expressed frustration with the delay by Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in issuing an arrest warrant for McCoy, who played for the Buffalo Bills last season.

McNesby said based on video he has seen, the fight was “an all-out beatdown” of the officers by McCoy and his friends, CBSPhilly reports:

“It was a sucker punch to the one officers by LeSean McCoy over a bottle of champagne, and it was an all out beatdown. This wasn’t just an assault, this was an aggravated assault. There were serious injuries, serious bodily injuries that took place here — eye sockets were broken, fractured skull, stitches. So this just wasn’t a pushing and shoving match where you’re separated and off you go. I mean this was serious.”

The altercation took place at the member's only, after-hours club in the early morning hours of Feb. 7. The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office is investigating McCoy and others in connection with the fight. Two off-duty police officers were injured during the incident. No charges have been filed against McCoy or anyone else reportedly involved.

John Gonzalez of reported that sources told him “the D.A.’s office is hesitant to issue warrants because it has questions about the conduct of the officers that evening, including that the officers did not call 9-1-1 during the incident and whether they were drinking to excess.

McNesby told Cataldi that during his years in law enforcement, he’s “never waited this long, ever, to see somebody arrested.”

“So, it doesn’t pass the smell test. Something funny's going on. I know that they have more discovery on this case than they had in the O.J. Simpson case. I mean it's taken up rooms. So I mean, how much more do you need? All you have to do is clearly look at that video. 

“I believe if this was anyone else this would have been completely cleaned up days ago,” he said of the D.A.’s office. “Now arrest them, don’t act as judge, don’t act as jury.”

District Attorney Seth Williams released a statement saying his office would not rush its investigation of the incident to please people who are impatient. 

"The people of Philadelphia elected me to charge the right people with the right crimes nothing more and nothing less," Williams said. "My only goal is to get it right, not fast. The last thing we need is a rush to judgment.

"I can handle the challenge of difficult cases and I’m only going to operate on one timeline: The timeline that ends when all the evidence is collected, has been reviewed and I have made the decision to charge or not charge a case."

Williams declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation until all the evidence is gathered. He also defended his capability to bring charges against prominent people.

"I understand that people are interested in the outcome of our investigation, but we’re not going to rush because some people are impatient – and to say that I am unwilling to prosecute difficult cases is a little misinformed," Williams said. "I’m the D.A. who has prosecuted police, gone after priests who shielded pedophiles, lawmakers who were caught on tape taking money for political favors and the people who attacked a gay couple in Center City."

McNesby also told Cataldi that he would request the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office investigate the case if the District Attorney Seth Williams declines to charge McCoy and the others allegedly involved. 

Chuck Ardo, spokesman for the Attorney General Kathleen Kane, declined to comment on McNesby's remarks.

"I really have no comment on the feud between the FOP and the local district attorney's office," Ardo said.

Dennis Cogan, defense attorney for McCoy, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. But he told WIP's Michael Barkann on the "Mike and Ike Show" that McNesby's comments were "outrageous." 

“I think the comments made by John McNesby, and even the mayor, designed to pressure the D.A. into making the premature decision are outrageous,” Cogan said. “I will say this: do you know what I, and John McNesby, and the mayor have in common? That none of us were there that night. Let the process play out.

"Other than that, I do my speaking in court and I will have no other comment. It serves the fraternal order of police and the city no good to make any other comments.”

McNesby ended the interview with Cataldi by adding that if the McCoy investigation doesn’t go the way police would like it to, a private criminal case will be filed.

Listen to McNesby's full interview at CBSPhilly.

Staff Writer John Kopp contributed to this report.