“Conflicting versions of the incident, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses, and a significant lack of cooperation by Jane Doe [McDonald’s fiancée] left investigators uncertain exactly what happened,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s office said in a news release (via SFGate.com). “All domestic violence complaints deserve our concern, sensitivity and careful review. After our thorough review of all the facts, we do not have evidence sufficient to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. McDonald committed a crime against Jane Doe.”
McDonald has continued to practice with and play for the team, unlike other players accused of similar crimes when the issue of domestic violence became a hot topic in the league at the start of the season. The 49ers chose to allow him to play while due process unfolded. Nor had McDonald said much, telling a TV reporter after he posted bail: “I can’t say too much, not right now, but the truth will come out. Everybody knows the kind of person that I am. I’m a good-hearted person.”
There were a number of issues that made the case difficult to prosecute, according to SFGate.
The McDonald case was complicated by the fact that when San Jose police officers responded to the defensive tackle’s home just before 3 a.m., a fellow officer who works private security for the 49ers in his off hours was already there. The officer, Sgt. Sean Pritchard, who worked security at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, has not commented.The incident raised questions about whether officers who moonlight as security guards have conflicts of interest. The San Jose police internal affairs bureau is investigating why Pritchard was at McDonald’s home, and Police Chief Larry Esquivel has suspended more than a dozen officers from providing security for the Niners.In the wake of McDonald’s arrest, San Jose police also revealed that they had responded to an earlier incident at the player’s home.On May 25, officials said, officers went to the residence to deal with an altercation in which an engaged couple argued and the woman grabbed the man’s gun and held it at her side. When the man said he he was going to call 911, the woman reportedly put the gun away and fled. No one was arrested, and a brief report released by police did not identify the man and woman involved.