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Coleman pleads guilty to throwing firecracker

LOS ANGELES -- Former New York Mets outfielder Vince Coleman pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge stemming from an incident in which he threw a powerful firecracker toward a group of fans outside a Dodger game.

In an agreement with the District Attorney's Office, Coleman, 31, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles Municipal Court to one misdemeanor count of unlawful possession of an explosive device. He originally was charged with a felony and could have been sentenced to three years in prison.

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Court Commissioner Abraham Khan suspended a six-month jail term and sentenced the baseball player to three years probation.

Khan told Coleman that throwing a firecracker was irresponsible. Coleman, who stood quietly beside his attorney in court, told the judge he agreed.

Coleman was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and must perform 200 hours of community service, including cleaning up grafitti and damage from the recent Southern California fires.

Coleman will agree to make restitution to the three people injured in the incident as part of the plea bargain.

The parents of 2-year-old Amanda Santos, who suffered eye injuries, filed suit against Coleman and former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Eric Davis.

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Prosecutors said Coleman threw a powerful firecracker, equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite, from Davis's car toward a group of fans after a July 24 game against the Dodgers.

Coleman and teammate Bobby Bonilla were sitting in Davis's car in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium when Coleman allegedly tossed the firecracker out the window.

Coleman's attorney Robert Shapiro said none of the victims suffered permanent physical injuries, but all are suing Coleman.

The Mets released the outfielder Aug. 26 because of the firecracker incident.

The charge is the latest in a series of incidents involving Coleman, who earlier this year hit pitcher Doc Gooden while swinging a golf club in the clubhouse. He also has scuffled with coaches.

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