Photo of Allen Donaldson courtesy of the Florida Department of Corrections

Allen Donaldson reported his symptoms to guards at the state’s Union county prison repeatedly before being transferred to a medical facility on May 25, 2020, where he tested positive for COVID-19. He died two days later.

From the Medical Examiner’s report (Alachua County):

“The decedent was a prisoner of the state at the Union Correctional Institution.

On 5/25/2020 the decedent presented to the medical department at the prison with symptoms of abdominal pain, hypotension and respiratory failure. The decedent was transported to Shands at UF for a higher level of care.

When he arrived at Shands at UF the decedent tested positive for the COVID 19 coronavirus. The decedent reported that he had symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, fever, cough, and chills.

The decedent was found to have significant lactic and metabolic acidosis as well as respiratory acidosis and hyperkalemia. Overnight on 5/25 the decedent decompensated and he went into cardiac arrest. ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation) was achieved after 3 rounds of CPR. He received multiple fluids and required pressors.

The decedent continued to require additional pressors as well as fluids and his condition deteriorated to the point the family decided to withdraw care. The decedent was pronounced dead at 1402 hours on 5/27.”

Mr. Donaldson’s first run-in with the law, according the Florida prison records, happened in 1993, when he was 36 years old. He was arrested for possession of marijuana in 1993 and sentenced to five years in prison.

Five years for simple possession of marijuana.

Then, a few minor bump-ins after (a trumped-up charge for battery of a law enforcement officer, which is the go-to charge for police to arrest someone if they have no other actual evidence of a crime), he ends up getting sentenced to 20 years in prison for a non-violent crime: burglary.

The specific statute used to sentence Mr. Donaldson, a non-violent offender (who was a young, black male at the time), is outlined below:

“Under Florida Statute 810.02, the crime of Burglary is defined as unlawfully entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance, remaining inside a dwelling, structure, or conveyance surreptitiously, or remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance after permission to remain has been withdrawn with the intent to commit a crime inside.”

Some of the details on his report don’t match other records available through the county clerk’s office, so I’m working on trying to figure out those discrepancies now. I’m also waiting on the full ME report, and will add it as soon as I receive it.

I couldn’t find any public advertisement of a memorial service held for him. I couldn’t find any information about his family or his loved ones.

If you knew Mr. Donaldson, or if you are a loved one, and could provide any more information, please email us at