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JSO Officer Arrested After 'Indecent' Touching Incident Caught On Camera

security camera
Ervins Strauhmanis via Flickr
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An 18-year-veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office faces possible termination after his arrest Tuesday.

Officer Thomas McDonald was arrested for simple battery after he was caught on video inappropriately touching a woman’s breast at Five Points bar Birdie's early on Sunday morning.

JSO Undersheriff Pat Ivey announced the arrest Tuesday afternoon. He said McDonald was talking to the woman and her boyfriend, whom he knew previously, when he playfully invited her to punch him. After she did, McDonald responded by touching her “upper breast.”

"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."

Ivey said she immediately punched McDonald — for real this time — before calling police after the incident.

He said McDonald was already facing a 15-day suspension in a separate case when he was arrested for the bar incident.

“This is something that’s not connected to anything else. This is not corruption. This is an officer that made a horrible choice, and if he’s an officer that made multiple horrible choices in the last four years, five years, so be it. We deal with it,” Ivey said.

Ivey said McDonald previously served a 10-day suspension in another case as well.

He is the eighth JSO officer arrested this year.

Ivey said, since Sheriff Mike Williams took over the department in 2015, 17 officers have been terminated, 32 have been suspended, and another 45 resigned or retired while they were being investigated for possible misconduct.

Photo used under Creative Commons license. 

Contact Jessica Palombo at jpalombo@wjct.org, 358-6315 or on Twitter at @JessicaPubRadio

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP