MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Anoka County Attorney’s Office is now charging a near 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department with first-degree assault after the crime’s victim had to undergo two surgeries to mend the bleeding in his brain.
Minneapolis Police sergeant David Clifford was charged initially with third-degree assault in June after allegedly punching Brian Vander Lee at Tanner’s Station in Andover.
The attorney’s office said it amended the charge Tuesday due to the severity of Vander Lee’s injuries.
According to a criminal complaint:
Clifford punched Vander Lee after taking offense to comments he was making on his phone. Clifford confronted him, punched him and Vander Lee hit his head on the pavement of the patio.
Clifford said he thought Vander Lee was going to hit him, so he threw the first punch. Clifford was off duty at the time of the incident.
Clifford is slated to be in court Thursday.