New information in the Ray McDonald alleged domestic violence case may change the way the San Jose Police Department deals with the San Francisco 49ers.
NBC Bay Area has learned top officials at the police department are now reviewing the policy of "secondary employment" after finding out McDonald, a 49ers defensive lineman, may have called a cop to come to the scene before responding officers and investigators arrived to the alleged incident.
The 49ers employ several San Jose police officers as off-duty "security" with the police department's approval as long as its so-called "secondary employment" guidelines are followed.
Sources said the officer, who NBC Bay Area is not naming, showed up and was not part of the unit sent to the scene by a 911 call. McDonald that night was eventually arrested on suspicion of felony domestic abuse of his pregnant fiancee.
"The chief and his chief officers are actually reviewing that as we speak," said Albert Morales, police spokesman. "And, again, there's really no timetable."
The police department emphasized it is not reviewing the secondary employment policies because the officer in the McDonald situation did anything illegal or wrong, necessarily, but is taking action mainly to avoid the perception of any favoritism or conflict of interest.
"We're held to a higher standard and so any form of any perception that we are possibly doing something as a favor to somebody, we're not being professional about it," Morales said. "We're not being objective. We have to go ahead and police ourselves."
NBC Bay Area legal analyst Steven Clark said, in his opinion, the McDonald situation could call into question the loyalty of officers.
Clark points out that a police officer is never truly off-duty, and that in the McDonald case, the officer has inserted himself into a case now under review by the district attorney's office.
"That officer will have certain observations about the parties. Were there any injuries at that time? Were the parties drinking?" Clark said. "So his observations are certainly going to be highly relevant to this investigation as to whether charges are filed."
The police department said the review will also be done to clarify the policies for the secondary employers, such as the 49ers.
"We have a secondary employment unit that's responsible for making sure that those employers follow our policies of procedures as well," Morales said. "So, you know, we have to hold them to the high standards that we have to maintain with our officers."