Bristol County DA Candidate Comes Clean About Arrest: ‘It Was a Terrible Time’
When former county prosecutor Shannon McMahon announced last week that she is running for the Bristol County District Attorney seat this fall, it meant that for the first time in 16 years, the D.A. election would be contested.
But her candidacy is noteworthy for another reason too: as well as being a former assistant district attorney, McMahon has also been arrested herself.
The incident led to her resigning from her job at the county prosecutor's office.
"I think it gives me a unique perspective," she said, noting that she's seen the system "from both sides."
McMahon spoke candidly about the experience, which she described as "a terrible time for my family."
First, McMahon stressed, the charges against her were dismissed in a month.
And since she was working as a Bristol County prosecutor at the time, the case was transferred to Wareham District Court in Plymouth County, although she lives in Swansea.
In 2016, McMahon was arrested and charged with one count of assault and battery on a family or household member.
She explained that it all had to do with her husband's health, as he was on medication for a malignant brain tumor that can affect behavior.
"It was a bad night," she said.
According to the police report, on Nov. 22, 2016, two Swansea police officers were called to McMahon's house on Old Fall River Road for a reported domestic disturbance.
Both McMahon and her husband — whose name will not be disclosed in accordance with WBSM policy — had been drinking alcohol, the officer wrote in the report.
The officers heard that the couple began arguing and at some point the argument became physical.
One officer wrote in the report: "Her husband informed us that she assaulted him by charging at him and striking him with her fists several times."
But, he noted, "I felt he was not being fully truthful."
However, McMahon — who had sustained minor injuries from broken glass at the scene — was arrested, and later taken to Charlton Memorial Hospital for evaluation of her injuries.
Police wrote in the report that she would not tell them what had happened.
"The police wanted me to press charges," she told WBSM News. "I refused."
Her husband declined a restraining order against her, and he and Plymouth County prosecutors did not pursue the matter further. "Obviously it was something my family and I didn't want," she said with emotion.
Due to the arrest, she was asked to resign from her position as assistant district attorney for Bristol County, which she did. She now works as a private attorney.
"I bear no hostility towards Tom," she said of her former employer, current Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III, against whom she is now running.
As for the arrest, although she wishes it hadn't happened, she said "it was eye-opening for me."
"I think it gives me a unique perspective on the judicial system," she reiterated. "I'd like to think I've learned something about this."
As a lawyer, McMahon said she already knew about the wide variety of resources available — so she's luckier than most.
"If elected, I'd like to ensure others have access to those resources," she said.
The charges were dismissed in December 2016 after the case was transferred to Wareham.
McMahon goes up against Quinn in the Democratic primary on Sept. 6.