A veteran Jacksonville police officer has been charged with simple battery after he groped a woman while out drinking Monday morning in Five Points, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A veteran Jacksonville police officer has been charged with simple battery after he groped a woman while out drinking Monday morning in Five Points, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.
According to Undersheriff Pat Ivey, the woman, who knows the officer, punched Officer Thomas McDonald, 47, after he inappropriately touched her breast while they were having a conversation at Birdies bar in the Riverside area. The incident was caught on video.
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“She was pissed. Her face had a very shocked look,” Ivey said. “You can tell by her response that it was a totally unwanted contact by Officer McDonald.”
McDonald, who has been on the force 18 years, had his police powers revoked when he was arrested Tuesday morning, Ivey said. He will be assigned to desk duty if he returns to work.
Ivey said McDonald, another man and a couple were out drinking together in Five Points late Sunday night and into Monday morning. He said McDonald and the woman, who was there with her boyfriend, were talking and laughing when she play-punched McDonald, and he then groped her breast.
The victim declined to comment when reached Tuesday by News4Jax.
The arrest marks the eighth this year of a Jacksonville officer. One of those was a corrections officer. A civilian employee and a court bailiff were also arrested this year.
Ivey said McDonald was already facing a 15-day suspension on an unrelated matter from 2016 that was handed down about three weeks ago, but the punishment had yet to be served because McDonald decided to take the issue to the civil service board. That issue involved an assault and two counts of unbecoming conduct, according to JSO records.
McDonald has had numerous disciplinary issues, including serving a 10-day suspension in 2013 for “unbecoming conduct,” records show. He’s also been counseled several times after complaints were received about him.
“This is something that is not connected to anything else. This is not corruption. This is an officer that made a horrible choice,” Ivey said. “It’s an officer that made multiple horrible choices in the last four to five years.”