WINDERMERE, Fla. – Johnny Damon, a retired Major League Baseball player and Orlando native, bonded out of jail Friday afternoon after he and his wife were accused of struggling with an officer during a DUI traffic stop in Windermere.
“Jail sucks, handcuffs are worse,” Damon said as he left the Orange County jail Friday afternoon.
As the former pro-athlete was released, an unidentified man encouraged Damon to not talk with the media; however, he did speak briefly.
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“I’m always accountable for my actions and we’ll see what happens soon,” Damon said. “But, I will be honest with you and always be accountable and like I said I would never put myself, my loved ones or anybody in harm’s way getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. So, I apologize and hopefully, I can answer more questions later on.”
When asked about his wife’s arrest, Damon was more evasive.
“Yeah, you know, um, you know... that’s something else I can’t talk about because she should not have been with me,” Damon said.
According to Orange County Jail records, Damon, 47, was arrested by Windermere police and booked on charges of DUI and resisting an officer without violence around 8:15 a.m. Friday. His wife, 45-year-old Michelle Mangan-Damon, is facing charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence.
Records show a Windermere police officer spotted Damon’s Lincoln SUV around 1:30 a.m. Friday drifting back and forth in the travel lane on Conroy Windermere Road, crossing over the lines and hitting a curb in the area.
Police said they pulled Damon over at Chase Road and Bridgehouse Road, near the gated resident entry for the Lake Butler Sound subdivision.
Damon and Mangan-Damon both got out of the SUV as the officer approached, despite his commands to stay in the vehicle, according to the affidavit. They both eventually got back into the SUV.
Police said they asked Damon why he and his wife got out of the vehicle and his reply was, “Um, because we saw you following us.” The officer then explained he was conducting a traffic stop and records show Damon’s reply was, “What traffic stop?”
Damon was reportedly unsteady on his feet, slurring his words and smelled of alcohol. He admitted that he had “just a little bit” to drink while making a small pinching motion with his fingers, according to the report.
Records show that as the officer was explaining the traffic infractions he’d witnessed prior to the stop, Mangan-Damon once again got out of the vehicle and said she didn’t need to listen to the officer who was telling her to get back in the SUV.
The officer approached Mangan-Damon and then Damon walked over as well despite being told to stay on the other side of the vehicle, at which point the officer grabbed Damon by the wrist and walked him back over to the driver’s side and then the officer grabbed Mangan-Damon by the wrist as well as he told her to stop, according to the report.
Police said Mangan-Damon told the officer not to touch her and began pulling away, which is when Damon approached again as the officer attempted to pull Mangan-Damon and in return, Mangon-Damon grabbed the officer’s left arm while pulling away and pushing.
The report said Damon also became “entangled” in the situation. Mangon-Damon then broke away from the officer and began walking toward the community’s guardhouse.
The officer called for backup and then went back over to Damon, pushed him against the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs but during the process, he kept tensing and moving his arm away, according to the affidavit. The second officer who arrived on scene secured Mangon-Damon.
Records show at some point during the struggle, the officer’s body camera fell off and landed face up on the ground.
Once Damon was secured, he told the officer, “I’m a good (expletive) guy” and made other comments about the current political climate that were not detailed in the report.
Police said Damon claimed he and his wife had been at “London House,” which he described as, “It’s a guy who had a lot of money to uh I don’t know, take care of taxes so he’s uh, we were just having a good time there,” according to the affidavit.
Records show Damon agreed to perform a field sobriety test, which he failed, telling the officer he was “a big boy.”
Damon was taken to a DUI testing center and was given two Breathalyzer tests at about 3:30 a.m., which yielded results of 0.30 and 0.294, according to the affidavit. The legal limit in Florida is .08.
Damon, who graduated from Doctor Phillips High School, played for several MLB teams including the Boston Red Sox and won a World Series championship in 2004.