Havre de Grace Teen Sentenced after Punching Off-duty Officer
The incident stemmed from a Halloween night altercation in McDonald's.
Shawn Donaldson, of the 800 block of Conesto Street, is also ordered to stay away from all McDonald’s restaurants in Harford County.
In Harford County District Court Monday, Donaldson pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, a charge meaning there was physical injury.
At 8:55 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2012, Donaldson was at McDonald’s using profanity and being loud, according to a statement of facts from the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The security guard, who was wearing a vest identifying him as a Baltimore City sheriff, asked Donaldson and his associates around the cashier’s counter to quiet down, the statement said.
There were small children around, according to the statement.
According to the state’s attorney, Donaldson turned, swung and struck the officer in the right eye.
The officer was evaluated and released from Harford Memorial Hospital.
In the courtroom Jan. 7, the deputy said that he hoped the lesson was learned.
Donaldson gave the officer a handwritten apology note before the hearing, according to his attorney Karen Jones.
“Clearly it was uncalled for,” Jones said. She noted that Donaldson’s cousin had been found dead shortly before the incident. She said that Donaldson was "a standout basketball player" who graduated from Havre de Grace High School in 2012 and currently works at The Olive Tree in Aberdeen.
Jones said she watched the McDonald’s surveillance video several times and saw that Donaldson wasn’t involved in the boisterous behavior and was asked to leave because he was in close physical proximity to the two people causing a disruption.
Since he had not gotten his food and was not involved, Jones continued, he did not want to leave. When asked, Donaldson could not provide a receipt because McDonald’s had not given him one—something Jones said was an ongoing problem the restaurant acknowledged.
"This is someone who does have interest in going into the military," Jones added, stating that the behavior was out of character.
“Do good kids go around hitting deputies in the eye?” Judge John Dunnigan said.
The state's attorney for Harford County chose to reduce the initial charge—second-degree assault on a police officer—to second-degree assault. It was not immediately available why although there was discussion of the need to have a clean record for the military.
“A word to the wise...” said Dunnigan, “they [the military] have their choice of people."
He sentenced Donaldson to probation before judgment, with 32 hours of community service, and a $2,500 fine with $2,500 of it suspended. Donaldson will also have to pay court fees, be on unsupervised probation for 12 months and is to have no contact with McDonald’s in Harford County.