MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The man assaulted allegedly by a Minneapolis Police sergeant is slowly recovering from injuries suffered in the incident less than two days after being put on life support, a friend of the victim told WCCO.

Brian Vander Lee, according to his close friend Mike Archambault, is doing better than doctors expected after his most recent surgery. Archambault told WCCO that he now recognizes his wife and is talking a little.

Archambault also said the swelling from Vander Lee’s last surgery is starting to go down.

Minneapolis Police sergeant David Clifford was charged with third-degree assault on Tuesday on connection with the incident. Clifford is accused of punching Vander Lee after taking offense to comments Vander Lee was making on his phone. When it didn’t stop, Clifford confronted him, punched him and Vander Lee hit his head on the pavement of the patio at Tanner’s Station in Andover, according to the criminal complaint.

In the complaint, Clifford said he thought Vander Lee was going to hit him, so he threw the first punch. Clifford is a nearly 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department. He was off duty at the time of the incident.

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