San Jose police officers won’t be permitted to work off-duty for the San Francisco 49ers as the domestic violence investigation into Ray McDonald continues.
Earlier this week, NBC Bay Area reported top police officials were reviewing the department’s 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 at the player’s San Jose home.
Chief Larry Esquivel, in an internal message to officers, said the department is suspending its relationship with the 49ers for the time being. "Due to the complexities of the investigation, both criminally and administratively, we feel that it is in our best interest to suspend all San Francisco 49er secondary employment related assignments until further notice," Esquivel said in the memo.
"As always, we will keep you informed to the extent possible as we move forward," he stated.
Police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said that Assistant Police Chief Eddie Garcia has confirmed that the officer in question in the McDonald matter is Sgt. Sean Pritchard.
Until now, the 49ers have employed several San Jose police officers as off-duty "security" with the police department's approval as long as so-called "secondary employment" guidelines are followed.
The team deferred requests for comment to the outside security firms it hires. Those firms “hire the cops to protect the stadium, so it’s really a matter for the firms, not the team,” said Bob Lange, the 49ers' spokesman.
spoke to SJPD officer on 49ers detail.Didn't want to speak about the policy change,but was noticeably disappointed,yet understood the reason — Damian Trujillo (@newsdamian) October 10, 2014
The 29-year-old McDonald was arrested the morning of Aug. 31 on suspicion of committing domestic violence against his pregnant fiancée during a party at his home at 2516 Bentley Drive in San Jose, booked into jail and released later that day.
Pritchard was suspended earlier this week from working for a third-party security firm while off duty as a result of his association with the McDonald incident, Morales said. The number of officers permitted to moonlight for security contractors for the 49ers has been reduced "to zero as of today," Morales said Friday.
At one point the department had up to 20 officers employed off-duty with private firms providing security services for the 49ers, but that number was down to three prior to the chief's announcement, Morales said.
The department is not officially releasing details of what Prichard's involvement was with the McDonald case, which is being investigated internally by police to see if anything was done inappropriately, he said.
Prosecutors have not yet charged McDonald. They received the case from police last week.
In the weeks since his arrest, the 49ers have allowed McDonald to play in all of the team's games during the 2014 season that began last month.
Bay City News contributed to this report.