By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Shawn B. Tardif, the Methuen police officer accused of assaulting a 25-year-old woman during a bachelorette party brawl at the Surfside 5 Bar & Grill on Salisbury Beach in August, was sentenced yesterday to 100 hours of community service and must pay thousands of dollars in restitution.
By admitting to sufficient facts to the charges of assault and battery and wanton destruction of property more than $250 in Newburyport District Court, the six-year veteran of the Methuen Police Department avoided having to plead guilty. Judge Peter Doyle continued the case without finding for three years, meaning if the 38-year-old adheres to conditions imposed by the court and stays out of trouble, the charges against him will be dismissed.
In addition to performing 100 hours of community service, Tardif must remain drug- and alcohol-free for three years and be subject to random screens. He must stay away from and have no contact with the victim, attend anger management courses and pay $50 to the Victim-Witness Fund. He was also ordered to pay $2,645 in restitution after smashing DJ equipment during the brawl.
Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte had asked the court to find Tardif guilty and sentenced to three years probation, while Tardif’s attorney, Gerard LaFlamme, asked for the case to be continued without finding for two years.
When asked if her office was satisfied with Doyle’s decision, Essex County District Attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball Monahan said her office couldn’t comment other than to say they would abide by the ruling.
“It’s up to the judge to make a decision,” Kimball Monahan said.
LaFlamme did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Following his arrest on Aug. 4, Tardif was placed on paid administrative leave and later returned, minus his firearm, to restricted desk duty a week later. It is unknown yet whether Tardif’s plea agreement will affect his position at the Methuen Police Department.
Yesterday, Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon said he plans to review court paperwork with City Solicitor Peter McQuillan before making a decision regarding Tardif’s assignment.
“Hopefully sometime next week we’ll have a final decision,” said Solomon.
Tardif was arrested by Salisbury police after a brawl at the Surfside 5 Bar and Grill at 23 Broadway. Witnesses described Tardif, who was off-duty and unarmed that night, as being “in a rage” when he assaulted Nicole Morrison, who was attending a bachelorette party. Tardif was at the bar with his wife Stacey, 44, and other friends. The altercation occurred after tension between the two groups escalated and allegedly after Morrison threw a drink at Stacey Tardif.
Shawn Tardif is accused of grabbing Morrison by the back of her neck, forcing her to the floor and then dragging her by her hair. When Salisbury police arrived, Morrison showed police a clump of hair Tardif allegedly ripped from her scalp during the 11:20 p.m. altercation.
Two security guards jumped in to break up the fight. Tardif punched one in the face, according to police. Also $5,000 worth of DJ equipment belonging to Ryan Oiler, 35, was also damaged.
Eagle-Tribune reporter Brian Messenger contributed to this report.