Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable will not face criminal charges for an alleged assault of assistant coach Randy Hanson at the club’s training camp facility on Aug. 5.
Napa, Calif., district attorney Gary Lieberstein said that Hanson did suffer a fractured jaw but that his office would not file charges because it dealt with many inconsistent statements and didn’t believe it had a case it could take before a jury. Cable never met with authorities in the matter, and Hanson had a second visit with law enforcement officials on Wednesday. Lieberstein said that Hanson gave inconsistent statements throughout the process, and that his story was not backed by witnesses.
“If this is a law school exam question, did a harmful or offensive touching happen? I wouldn’t disagree with you on that,’’ Lieberstein said. “The actual contact he had when Mr. Hanson was down, he basically, as best we can tell from the witnesses, had a hold of his collar and was essentially continuing to lecture him about his concerns about the organization and how he was handling himself.
“The question is would we file every type of misdemeanor battery that ever happens? You have to look at all the circumstances. Quite clearly in our mind there is absolutely no credible evidence that we would put in front of a jury to prove a felony occurred here. So our analysis comes down to did a misdemeanor battery technically occur, and again in a law school exam question, yes. But when you take all of the witnesses together and you take all of the inconsistent stories that were told and then you look from an interest of justice standpoint ... do we feel we should bring the criminal justice system down for a misdemeanor battery in a case we feel any jury would not return a verdict of guilty, we don’t believe that is our responsibility to the public to do that. There are certainly other avenues of remedy open to Mr. Hanson.’’
Hanson has retained the services of San Francisco attorney John McGuinn, and it remains possible that he will file suits against Cable and the organization. It also remains possible that Cable will still face punishment from the NFL, although today’s developments certainly help him greatly. The NFL has said it will continue to review the situation.
Hanson alleged that Cable attacked him in a meeting room at training camp, knocking him out of his chair, resulting in him fracturing his jaw. Defensive coordinator John Marshall, secondary coach Lionel Washington and longtime Raiders assistant Willie Brown were in the room at the time of the alleged attack. Hanson sought treatment at a Napa hospital late at night, and it was hospital officials who notified police, per state law, that they were likely treating someone who was the victim of an assault. Hanson declined to cooperate with authorities at the time, and has said that he was hopeful of maintaining his job as an assistant with the team at the time.
It was two weeks before Hanson met with owner Al Davis, and Davis told him that he could not undermine Cable and return him to a role as a coach on the team. Davis offered him three options—break down film for the coaching staff, take a job in the personnel department or leave the team and Davis would pay the remainder of his contract. It was at that time that Hanson changed his mind and decided to cooperate with authorities and turn over medical records to them.
But even proof that Hanson had a broken jaw couldn’t persuade Lieberstein and his office to pursue the matter further. According to officials, there were just too many inconsistencies in what Hanson said, and the three Raiders coaches who did speak were compelling and had the same story.
“It would be a miscarriage of justice to pursue criminal charges and we will not ask our citizens to give up their valuable time,’’ Lieberstein said.
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