49ers’ Ray McDonald will not be charged with domestic violence

Ray McDonald
The Santa Clara County district attorney has declined to file domestic violence charges against the 49ers’ Ray McDonald because of a lack of evidence.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald will not be charged with domestic violence stemming from an incident at his home in August.

The Santa Clara County district attorney has declined to file charges against McDonald because of a lack of evidence, according to an interoffice memo obtained Monday by The Times.

McDonald was accused of hitting his pregnant fiancee, and – in the explosive furor surrounding the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice case – the 49ers were under pressure to keep him off the field. They continued to allow McDonald to play, however, saying that they wanted the legal process to play out.

That turned out to be the right decision, because the seven-page memo, which identifies the woman only as Jane Doe, says: “Both of the parties involved state that Jane Doe struck Ray McDonald first and the evidence shows injuries consistent with restraint and an ensuing scuffle rather than an attack.”


The memo is from Cindy Seeley Hendrickson, supervising deputy district attorney, and Lindsay Walsh, deputy district attorney, and is addressed to District Attorney Jeffrey F. Rosen.

According to the document, McDonald and the woman have been dating since July 2013 and were engaged in February. At the time of the incident they had lived together in McDonald’s San Jose home on and off for 11 months. She was 10 weeks pregnant.

The following is what authorities say transpired, according to the memo:

There was a prior incident. McDonald called police on May 24, stating the woman had a gun. He initially said she never pointed the gun at him or fired it, but he later changed his story, saying she did fire it into the ground as he drove away from his home that day. No charges were filed.


On Aug. 30, McDonald threw a birthday party for himself at his house, with guests beginning to arrive at 3 p.m. Although several guests had left by midnight, the party was loud enough at 1:58 a.m. to generate a noise complaint from a neighbor. Before and during the party McDonald received texts from women he met the night before, and he was concerned the women would show up at his house and cause problems. He called the 49ers security director who put him in touch with a San Jose police officer, who made two separate trips to McDonald’s house to address the issue.

Sometime between 12:50 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. one of the female guests at the party headed home, but first checked in with McDonald’s fiancee who by this point was asleep upstairs. The guest warned her that some women were “getting too friendly” with McDonald downstairs. Jane Doe got dressed and went downstairs to confront the women. She told a woman who was speaking to McDonald to step outside. McDonald told police he was concerned for his fiancee’s safety because of the aggressive way she was talking to the women, and because she was pregnant.

Jane Doe re-entered the house and headed back upstairs. McDonald followed her and the two were arguing. The two agreed that she struck him first, and hit him several times with a closed fist. (He had no visible injuries or complaints of pain.) McDonald grabbed her arms to restrain her, resulting in visible injury. She said McDonald threw her on a couch; McDonald said they both fell onto the couch. McDonald tried to forcibly remove her from the house, at one point grabbing her neck.

Ultimately, both made separate calls to police, with McDonald saying, “I need to get this female out of my house,” and Jane Doe saying, “I’d like to press for domestic violence… my fiance… he’s trying to pull me out of the house… He’s drunk… I think he’s calling the cops, he, he’s trying to get me out.”

Responding officers arrested McDonald after determining that probable cause existed to believe he was the dominant aggressor and that his conduct had resulted in visible injury to Jane Doe.

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