FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — Two men have been charged with assault after a fight broke out at the Minnesota State Fair and a police officer was kicked in the face.
Authorities say the incident happened around midnight on Sunday near the intersection of Liggett Street and Carnes Avenue at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. An officer was dispatched to the area of a large fight in progress and witnessed two men on top of another man, upon arrival.
According to the charges, Kyle Thomas Wesaw, 27, and Anthony Graham Clark, 25, were identified as two of the men in the fight. The third man was identified as off-duty St. Paul Police Officer Joseph Paul Sauer, 28.
When officers arrived, they saw Sauer on the ground, on his back. Police say Clark was on top of Sauer and Wesaw appeared to be holding Sauer down.
When the officer approached the three men, they said they could hear Sauer yelling, “Stop fighting, I’m a cop.”
A video of the assault, which was uploaded to YouTube (Warning: Graphic language, officer is kicked at 1:08), shows Officer Sauer and a State Fair officer handcuffing Clark on the ground. The State Fair officer is seen getting up and attempting to control the crowd and Officer Sauer appears to be on top of Clark, detaining him. At that point, Wesaw approaches Sauer and kicks him in the face. Sauer then falls back and lands on the pavement.
An investigation and subsequent witness interviews revealed that Officer Sauer was at the fair with his brother and friends, and not on duty. Someone in the crowd, near the Midway, recognized Sauer as a cop and yelled out at him. Witnesses say a man from the crowd then approached Sauer, threw a stuffed animal at him and punched him in the face. Sauer then took the man down to the ground and put his arms behind his back when a second man, later identified as Wesaw, allegedly approached Sauer’s brother and head-butted him in the face.
Officer Sauer was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment. Authorities say he suffered head injuries, memory loss and ongoing headaches.
Wesaw was interviewed by police on Monday. He said he was at the fair with friends, including Clark, and was carrying a small stuffed animal that he had won. He said Clark grabbed the stuffed animal from him and threw it at Sauer. He said Clark and Sauer then began wrestling on the ground.
He said he was trying to break up the fight when Sauer bit him on his right thumb. He said he became “pissed” and kicked Sauer in the face. He denied knowing Sauer was a cop.
Wesaw admitted he had been drinking.
Clark was also interviewed by police and said he was assaulted for no reason. He denied punching anyone. Police say throughout his interview, he changed his recollection of what happened. He said he didn’t even remember being handcuffed.
Wesaw and Clark have been charged with third-degree and fourth-degree assault. If convicted, they could spend a maximum of eight years in prison and/or up to $16,000 in fines.