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Attorney: Mario's arrest related to mother's drug problems

An attorney for singer Mario, who was arrested this morning and charged with assaulting his mother, released a statement:

"This is an unfortunate incident between a loving son and a mother who continues to struggle with a devastating addiction," said William "Hassan" Murphy III. "Anyone who has waged the battle to save loved ones from the forces of drugs knows the irrational behavior that almost always accompanies their actions. Mario remains committed to supporting his mother."

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Murphy would not answer questions about the specific allegations. Mario's mother, Shawnita Hardaway, called police to their shared Fells Point apartment early Friday and said he had hit her and destroyed their apartment. Police saw a broken china cabinet and a hole in a closet door. Hardaway said he had shoved her into a wall days earlier.

Mario, who has appeared on Dancing with the Stars and the films Freedom Writers and Step Up, was raised by his grandmother in Gwynn Oak due to his mother's drug problems. But in recent years she has become a greater presence in his life – their relationship was chronicled on an MTV special, I Won't Love You To Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom.

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In 2008, Mario started a Baltimore-based non-profit called Mario’s Do Right Foundation that mentors children of drug-addicted parents. According to its Facebook page, the foundation held a fundraiser this summer at Silo Point and was in the process of starting a program in the city school system.

“This fall in Baltimore City I will be working with some public schools to assist in providing resources and counseling for students who have parents that are addicted to drugs,” reads a post on the Facebook page from Sept. 16. “I will also be helping the students understand that it's not their fault that their parent may have a problem and I will be telling them that they have my support.”

Edie House-Foster, a spokeswoman for the city school system, said there was not any formal relationship in place with the Do Right foundation. Kevin Shird, the foundation’s executive director, said Mario’s work with the school was informal. On Wednesday, Shird said, the singer gave students 100 backpacks full of school supplies.

“He’s out here working, trying to do the right thing,” Shird said before referring questions to Mario’s attorney.

The singer’s initial appearance in court on the assault charge is scheduled for Nov. 9.

It’s the first of two scheduled court dates for Mario. Three women filed a lawsuit in Baltimore District Court against Mario and his mother in August, alleging that Hardaway struck their vehicle in a parking lot in January, causing injuries. They are seeking $20,000 each at a court date scheduled for Nov. 16.

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