‘I’m good, bro:’ Body camera video shows retired MLB player Johnny Damon failing field sobriety test

Damon, wife arrested in Windermere

‘I’m good, bro:’ Body camera video shows retired MLB player Johnny Damon failing field sobriety test
‘I’m good, bro:’ Body camera video shows retired MLB player Johnny Damon failing field sobriety test

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Body camera video recorded during the DUI arrest of Johnny Damon, a retired Major League Baseball player and Orlando native, shows the former pro-athlete and his wife tussle with officers prior to their arrests.

Windermere police released videos recorded by multiple officers’ body-worn cameras on Tuesday as part of a public records request from Damon’s and Michelle Mangan-Damon’s arrests on Feb. 18.

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The video starts with an officer approaching Damon’s Lincoln SUV and immediately encountering trouble as Damon tried to get out of the car and Mangan-Damon got out and walked over to the officer.

“What’s happening right now?” she asked.

Eventually they both get back into the the car and the officer explains that he pulled Damon over because he was swerving and hit a curb.

WARNING: Video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

Damon initially seemed confused.

“What traffic stop?” he asked minutes after being pulled over.

The conversation doesn’t get too far before Mangan-Damon gets out of the car again and tries to walk toward the security stand at their gated housing complex.

The officer grabbed her wrist and told her to get back in the vehicle.

“Don’t touch me. Don’t (expletive) touch me,” Mangan-Damon said.

There then appears to be some sort of struggle but it’s difficult to discern what exactly happened based on the footage alone.

According to the affidavit, Damon approached 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 initial officer focused his attention on getting Damon secured while a second officer arrived and took Mangon-Damon into custody.

“OK, we are at home right now. I don’t know what you’re doing,” Damon said. “Hey babe, walk home. Babe, walk home.”

As his wife is being handcuffed, a struggle appears to ensue between Damon and the officer, which caused his body camera to fall to the ground.

“Believe me, I am Blue Lives Matter,” Damon said. “What are you doing right now? We are all for cops. Guys, we are all for cops.”

Retired MLB player Johnny Damon arrested on DUI charge in Central Florida
Retired MLB player Johnny Damon arrested on DUI charge in Central Florida

Mangon-Damon can be heard in the background repeatedly telling the officers to look at their Blue Lives Matter license plate.

“Like, this is crazy,” she said.

Damon repeatedly insisted that he and wife don’t want any problems.

“Hey, we are good people. We are good people, I’m telling you... we’re good people,” Damon said.

He added that his wife is “crazy” and a “tough girl” who “fights all the time.” He also brought up politics.

“Hey bro, I’m a good (expletive) guy and I know people are trying to target me because I’m a Trump supporter,” he said.

Later he said, “Bro, we’re great people and I don’t (expletive) around.”

Footage from Damon’s field sobriety test begins about 23 minutes into the nearly two-hour video. It shows Damon claiming he’s “healthy as hell,” “(expletive) sober” and able to “run a 4.2 (second) 40 (yard dash) right now.”

In the video, he giggled while trying to following the officer’s flashlight with his eyes only and not his head as instructed and had trouble maintaining balance and following the instructions for each exercise.

“Yeah, I’m good bro,” Damon said repeatedly.

Damon admitted to having “a little bit” to drink and 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.

Meanwhile, a separate officer was dealing with Mangan-Damon.

When told she was under arrest, Mangan-Damon told the officer, “No, I’m not. No I have to go home to my children,” repeatedly telling officers she needed to get home to her six children.

Mangan-Damon said the couple had left their children with the 21-year-old nanny and she wanted officers to explain to her children why they weren’t coming home.

Windermere police discussed among themselves who would go to the Damon home and inform the nanny of the couple’s arrest. A security guard at the gated community was able to get the nanny on the phone so officers could inform her that the children’s parents would not be returning home that night.

Retired MLB player Johnny Damon speaks after being released from jail
Retired MLB player Johnny Damon speaks after being released from jail

Damon repeatedly tried to negotiate with officers to not take his wife “as a favor.”

The Damons were both taken to the DUI testing center. The couple continued to try and ask the transporting officer why Mangan-Damon was being arrested because “she was a passenger.” The officer tried to explain that she was accused of assaulting him but she continued to interrupt him.

“Because you grabbed on to me and pushed ...” he started but then Mangan-Damon started asking him again.

Eventually, the officer turned up his radio as the Damons continued to discuss their predicament in the back of the patrol car.

When Mangan-Damon asked if the officer knew who her husband was and he said he “had no idea,” she started listing off his baseball accomplishments and charity work.

“I support police 100%,” Mangan-Damon said in response to the officer telling her battery on a law enforcement is a felony. She then asked again why she was arrested if she was “just a passenger.”

Damon bonded out of jail Feb. 19 and briefly spoke to reporters.

“Jail sucks, handcuffs are worse,” Damon said as he left the Orange County jail.

Court records show Damon, 47, is not going to be charged with resisting an officer without violence but he was issued a traffic ticket for running a stop sign. He entered a plea of not guilty on the DUI charge.

Mangan-Damon is facing charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence.


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About the Authors:

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Emilee hosts the Edward R. Murrow Award-winning podcast Space Curious. Previously, she was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a web producer at the Naples Daily News.