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No Domestic Assault Charges For San Francisco 49ers' Ray McDonald

The Santa Clara, California District Attorney's Office said there's insufficient evidence to charge the defensive end.

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San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald will not get felony domestic violence charges for an incident that allegedly took place at his home in August.

In a memo released by the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office on Monday, the decision was explained as "conflicting versions of the incident, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses, and a significant lack of cooperation by [McDonald's fiancée], left investigators uncertain exactly what happened."
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

In a memo released by the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office on Monday, the decision was explained as "conflicting versions of the incident, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses, and a significant lack of cooperation by [McDonald's fiancée], left investigators uncertain exactly what happened."

The DA's memo details an altercation between McDonald and his fiancée — referred to as Jane Doe — in the early morning during his Aug. 31 birthday party.

The incident began when one of McDonald's guests reportedly told his fiancée that there were women getting "too friendly" with McDonald, according to the memo. The fiancée confronted the women, and McDonald then "called her names, indicated that she was an unfit mother, and threatened to take her baby."

The fiancée was 10 weeks pregnant at the time.

Both parties confirmed to police that the fiancée then struck McDonald. He then grabbed her arms "to restrain her, resulting in visible injury," according to the memo.

There's conflicting accounts about what happened next , according to the DA memo:

At some point they ended up on the couch. Jane Doe said McDonald threw her on the couch. McDonald said they fell on the couch. McDonald tried to remove Jane Doe from the home forcibly. At one point he grabbed her neck, resulting in visible injury. Jane Doe said she was "fighting back," physically resisting McDonald's efforts to pull her out of the house. Jane Doe said she tried to push McDonald off of her. Jane Doe was able to free herself. McDonald said he let go.

McDonald called Sgt. Sean Pritchard, a San Jose Police Department officer who at the time worked security for 49ers home games in nearby Santa Clara. McDonald's fiancée called 911.

When the cops arrived, the fiancée told officers she did not want McDonald to be arrested, but they "[determined] that probable cause existed to believe that McDonald was the dominant aggressor and that his conduct had resulted in visible injury to Jane Doe."
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

When the cops arrived, the fiancée told officers she did not want McDonald to be arrested, but they "[determined] that probable cause existed to believe that McDonald was the dominant aggressor and that his conduct had resulted in visible injury to Jane Doe."

The DA memo said McDonald's fiancée refused to give any interviews after the initial visit from police, and that she refused to allow her injuries to be photographed. There were also no other eyewitnesses to the altercation.

The fiancée's description of the incident during the 911 report had an impact on how prosecutors determined whether or not to charge McDonald, the memo said. In the phone call, she told the responder that McDonald was "trying to pull [her] out of the house," but did not mention any specific incidents of violence from him.

The decision not to continue with the felony domestic violence charges against McDonald is explained as such:

The decision is clear because we have mutual fighting between two parties, each party blaming the other and there are no verifiable eyewitnesses, no one with significant injuries, and no allegation of prior domestic violence by McDonald.

McDonald and his fiancée's consistency in reporting that she struck first was a large factor in the decision not to charge McDonald, the memo said.

The 49ers were criticized for not benching the defensive end immediately after arrest. In September, 49ers owner Jed York addressed how the team would determine an appropriate course of action for McDonald:

"I will not punish somebody until we see evidence something should be done or until an entire police investigation shows us something."
Elise Amendola / AP

"I will not punish somebody until we see evidence something should be done or until an entire police investigation shows us something."

Following the DA memo and news that McDonald would not be charged, the 49ers released the following statement:

The issue of domestic violence is important to us, as it is throughout society. We have taken this allegation seriously, just as we have taken the principles of due process seriously. We have said from the beginning that we will consider the information available, allow the facts to lead to our decisions and respect the judicial process. Based on the information available to us and the District Attorney's decision not to file charges, there will be no change in Ray's status with the team.

The NFL could still punish McDonald based on the incident report:

NFL hasn't ruled out disciplining #49ers Ray McDonald: We will review available information from the court under the personal conduct policy

Eric Branch@Eric_BranchFollow

NFL hasn't ruled out disciplining #49ers Ray McDonald: We will review available information from the court under the personal conduct policy

2:59 PM - 10 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The full memo from the Santa Clara District Attorney's office is below:

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