SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – A San Jose police officer doing security work for the San Francisco 49ers was the first officer on the scene at the home of player Ray McDonald the night he was arrested for alleged domestic violence on his girlfriend, according to a published report.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, when officers responded to a domestic violence call at McDonald’s house they found one of their own, Sgt. Shawn Pritchard, already there in his security capacity for the team.
For now, Pritchard has been barred from moonlighting for the 49ers, according to the report.
“The reason why officers do this is to earn money, to supplement their salary as police officers,” independent police auditor LaDoris Cordell told KPIX 5.
Cordell said she could not comment on the McDonald case, but said when officers work both sides of the fence, there can be a conflict of interest.
“If an officer working secondary employment, let’s say a security guard, witnesses his employer committing a crime. But that’s your employer, at the same time, you’re a police officer. So right away you are in a conflict of interest,” Cordell said.
The newspaper says Pritchard’s presence “complicated the police investigation into the domestic violence call, and it was one reason it took a month to forward the case to District Attorney Jeff Rosen’s office.”
McDonald was arrested early on August 31st, but his case was not forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office until October 2nd. The team has been under pressure to bench the defensive lineman since August, but 49er executives have repeatedly affirmed their intention to let the legal process play out before deciding on McDonald’s fate with the team.
The San Jose Police Department’s internal affairs unit is now looking into the case. Pritchard is a veteran officer assigned to the gang suppression unit. The association between officers and the franchise also raises questions of a potential conflict of interest in cases involving 49ers employees.
About 20 officers have been doing additional security work for the 49ers. Others will be allowed to keep doing that work during the investigation into Pritchard’s case.
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