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Minneapolis SWAT Executive Officer Assaults Man in Bar Causing Severe Brain Injuries

Discussion in 'Police / Minneapolis' started by M, Jul 10, 2012.

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    M Muckraker

    clifford david.jpg
    Minneapolis Police Sgt. David Clifford​

    BrianVanderLee.jpg
    Brian Vander Lee​

    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minneapolis police officer jailed after Andover bar fight (June 17 2012)

    The executive officer of the Minneapolis Police SWAT Unit was booked into Anoka County Jail on Sunday, June 17, after a fight at an Andover bar the night before, county officials said.

    ...


    Witnesses told detectives that [Sgt. David] Clifford, who was off-duty at the time, approached the man for speaking loudly on his cellphone, Schantzen said. The men talked briefly, and then Clifford apparently hit the man in the head and left the bar, Schantzen said.

    Clifford is a veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Kosovo and Iraq, according to an online biography. The bio says Clifford has participated in more than 350 SWAT operations.

    KSTP: Mpls. SWAT Officer Charged in Andover Bar Assault (June 17 2012)

    A Minneapolis SWAT officer is charged with third degree assault for allegedly punching a man at an Andover bar, leaving him with serious injuries.

    ...

    [Sgt. David] Clifford is accused of punching 34-year-old Brian Keith Vanderlee at Tanner's Station in Andover Saturday evening. Witnesses say the punch caused Vanderlee to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground.

    Clifford fled and was picked up in a vehicle by a woman, later identified as his wife.

    CBS Local Minnesota: Minneapolis Police Sgt. In Jail For Assault (June 17 2012)

    A sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department is in jail Sunday night accused of assault, according to authorities.

    ...

    [Sgt. David] Clifford is accused of punching a man outside an Andover bar on Saturday. That man was identified by a witness as Brian Vanderlee, and the witness told WCCO-TV that Vanderlee is in the hospital on life support. After getting punched only one time, the witness said Vanderlee hit the pavement and cracked his skull.

    My Fox Twin Cities: Minneapolis police officer punches man unconscious on bar patio in Andover (June 17 2012)

    A father of four from Ramsey, Minn. is not spending this Father's Day as anyone would like. Brian Vander Lee is fighting for his life at Mercy Hospital.

    ...

    Archambault says Vander Lee was on the patio at Tanners in Andover around 7 p.m. Saturday night. Vander Lee was talking loud on his cell phone when a stranger at another table asked him to be quiet. Minutes later, Archambault spoke to Vander Lee as he was pulling into the parking lot, but the cell phone went dead.

    "He did a Superman punch," Archambault said. "Brian went back, feet up in the air, and the guy landed on top of him and his head bounced off the concrete."

    Archambault saw the man run off the patio as Vander Lee laid there unconscious. Vander Lee was rushed to the nearest hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for bleeding on his brain.

    With at least ten witnesses on the patio including Vander Lee's wife, investigators quickly learned the suspect was possibly a Minneapolis police officer. They alerted the Minneapolis Police Department and went to the suspect's house, but did not find him.

    At approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Commander Paul Sommer says Sgt. David Clifford turned himself in to the Anoka County Jail with his lawyer by his side. Clifford made a statement to police and was booked into the jail awaiting charges for first and third-degree assault.
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    M Muckraker

    My Fox Twin Cities: Minneapolis police officer charged with felony assault for bar patio punch (June 18 2012)

    Minneapolis Police Sgt. David Clifford was charged Monday with third degree assault for allegedly punching a man unconscious for talking loud on his cell phone on a bar patio in Andover.

    Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County sheriff's office said [Sgt. David] Clifford remained in jail Monday and will make an initial court appearance on the felony charge Tuesday morning.

    Brian Vander Lee was on the patio at Tanner's Station in Andover around 7 p.m. Saturday night when Sgt. David Clifford, at another table with his wife, asked him to be quiet. Vander Lee's friend Mike Archambault was on the other end of that phone conversation, and pulling into the parking lot of the bar, when the phone went dead.

    "He did a Superman punch," Archambault said. "Brian went back, feet up in the air, and the guy landed on top of him and his head bounced off the concrete."

    Star Tribune: Mpls. cop charged with assault; bar patron severely injured (June 18 2012)

    Brian Vander Lee, 43, of Ramsey, who works in the Star Tribune advertising department, was in stable condition at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids on Monday afternoon and was breathing on his own, said Steven Engelhart, Vander Lee's boss. A family spokesman said Vander Lee was moving his hands and feet and was no longer on life support.

    According to the criminal complaint, a surveillance video shows that Vander Lee was sitting on the patio at Tanner's Station in Andover with his wife and brother on Saturday evening when [Sgt. David] Clifford, who was sitting at the next table, confronted him. Vander Lee was on his cellphone when Clifford leaned over and began talking in his ear, said Anoka County Sheriff's Commander Paul Sommer. Witnesses described it as a "verbal confrontation," according to the criminal complaint.

    Then Clifford struck Vander Lee in the mouth with his right fist, Sommer said the video showed. Vander Lee fell backward, his head hitting the pavement.

    Fox News: Minneapolis SWAT officer charged with assault (June 18 2012)

    According to the complaint, Sgt. David Clifford told police he was sitting near the victim's table and took offense to language being used. Anoka County Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer said the victim was on a cellphone.

    Clifford allegedly went to talk to the man and punched him.

    Sommer says video surveillance shows the man fell backward and may have hit his head.

    Sommer says that, as of Monday morning, the man was on life support after two brain surgeries.

    City Pages: David Clifford, Mpls police sergeant, in jail after nearly killing man with alleged bar sucker punch (June 18 2012)

    Brian Vander Lee was talking loudly on his phone while sitting with friends and family on the patio at Tanners bar in Andover around 7 p.m. Saturday night when a man walked up to him and asked him to quiet down.

    Surveillance footage shows that just seconds later, the man waylaid Vander Lee, sending him sprawling to the concrete with a single punch to the face. Vander Lee's head hit the concrete, causing bleeding on his brain. He had two brain surgeries yesterday and was reportedly on life support as of 9 p.m. last night.

    The suspect ran from the scene, but turned himself in to Anoka County Jail yesterday afternoon with a lawyer by his side. His name is David Clifford. He's a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department and is currently the executive officer of the MPD's SWAT team.

    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minneapolis cop charged in Andover bar fight; self-defense claimed; victim improves (June 18 2012)

    After two brain surgeries and nearly 40 hours on life-support, a Ramsey father of four reportedly knocked to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer last weekend was showing small signs of recovery.

    Meanwhile, the officer -- Sgt. David Clifford, 47, of Andover, who was charged Monday with third-degree assault -- claimed he acted in self-defense.

    Brian Vander Lee wiggled his toes and gave doctors a thumbs-up Monday, June 18, at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. He was expected to begin breathing on his own soon, said Mike Archambault, who spoke on behalf of his friend's family.
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    M Muckraker

    clifford david 2.jpg
    Sgt. David Clifford​



    Star Tribune: Prosecutor: Alcohol involved in 'remarkably violent' bar assault (Sept 19 2012)

    A Minneapolis SWAT team leader was formally charged with third-degree felony assault during a court appearance Tuesday morning in Anoka County.

    Sgt. David Clifford, 47, of the Minneapolis Police Department, is accused of punching a Ramsey man while off duty at a bar Saturday night.

    ...

    According to Anoka County Prosecutor Blair Buccione, alcohol was involved in the alleged assault. Buccione said that the offense was "remarkably violent" and that Clifford fled the scene immediately after the alleged assault at Tanner's Station in Andover.

    KARE 11: Police officer charged in violent assault released from jail (Sept 19 2012)

    The Minneapolis police sergeant charged in a violent weekend assault that left a man with severe brain injuries was released from jail Tuesday morning.

    David Clifford, a veteran officer and commander of the Minneapolis SWAT Team, was arraigned Tuesday morning in Anoka County Court and then posted $15,000 bail. He was released on the conditions that he refrains from using alcohol and has no contact with victim Brian Vander Lee or his wife.

    City Pages: David Clifford, alleged sucker-punching Mpls police sergeant, claims self-defense (Sept 19 2012)

    Surveillance video from Tanners bar seems to show Minneapolis SWAT team executive officer David Clifford hauling off and punching Brian Vander Lee on Saturday evening for no good reason. But [Sgt. David] Clifford argues there was more to the incident than what can be seen on tape.

    Yesterday, Clifford was charged with third-degree assault, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. But in a criminal complaint, Clifford argues that he struck Vander Lee in self-defense.

    Clifford told police that he asked fellow patio patron Vander Lee to stop using offensive language. Vander Lee reportedly stopped for a time, but when he started up again, Clifford approached his table. Once he got there, he came to believe that Vander Lee might strike him, so Clifford decided to take matters in his own hands and punch Vander Lee first.

    City Pages: David Clifford posts bail, had half a cocktail before delivering near-fatal punch, attorney says (Sept 19 2012)

    During a court hearing today, defense attorney Brooke Bass told Anoka County Judge Tammi Fredrickson that [Sgt. David] Clifford only had half a cocktail before the alleged 7 p.m. Saturday evening sucker-punch assault. Clifford was given a conditional bail of $15,000, which he posted shortly after the hearing. Prosecuting attorney Blair Buccione characterized the alleged assault as "remarkably violent" and asked for $25,000 bail, arguing to no avail that Clifford is a flight risk.

    While free, Clifford is to have no contact with Vander Lee or his wife and will have to submit to alcohol testing on demand.

    Minnesota Public Radio: Mpls. SWAT officer charged with assault (Sept 19 2012)

    Minneapolis police Sgt. David Clifford, the executive officer of the Minneapolis Police SWAT unit, was in the Anoka County Jail on Monday. He is charged with third-degree assault, and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday.

    "You wouldn't think a police officer would behave in this way," said Anoka County Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer. "It's kind of a shock to our system."

    Minn Post: ... the case of on cop with serious anger management issues (Sept 19 2012)

    Paul Levy of the Strib is following the case of on cop with serious anger management issues. He reports, “A Minneapolis SWAT team leader was formally charged with third-degree felony assault during a court appearance Tuesday morning in Anoka County. Sgt. David Clifford, 47, of the Minneapolis Police Department, is accused of punching a Ramsey man while off duty at a bar Saturday night. … According to Anoka County Prosecutor Blair Buccione, alcohol was involved in the alleged assault. Buccione said that the offense was "remarkably violent" and that Clifford fled the scene immediately after the alleged assault at Tanner's Station in Andover. Brooke Bass, an attorney who represented Clifford at his appearance Tuesday, said Clifford had only half of a mixed drink.”

    CBS Local Minnesota: Police Sgt. In Andover Bar Fight Posts Bail (Sept 19 2012)

    Mike Archambault says Brian Vander Lee has been a jokester who wouldn’t hurt a fly since they met as long-haired 13-year-olds, and he can’t understand what could have led an off-duty Minneapolis SWAT officer to allegedly attack his friend in a bar.

    Archambault, who has known Vander Lee for 30 years, said Tuesday he was joking around on the phone with Vander Lee while going to meet him on Saturday at Tanners Station restaurant. Vander Lee was in the parking lot when the line went dead — and moments later a man ran out.

    Archambault went to the patio and saw his friend lying on the ground, unconscious. The married father of four girls was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent brain surgery twice and where he remained Tuesday in critical condition, according to his brother.

    “I pieced it together that this guy that was running did it to him,” Archambault said. “Why in the (expletive deleted) would he do that? … It’s a horrible freaking thing … It’s unbelievable.”

    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minneapolis police officer charged in Andover assault is released from jail (Sept 19 2012)

    The Minneapolis police officer accused of sending an Andover father to the hospital with a punch to the face is no longer in jail.

    Sgt. David Clifford was released about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 19, after making his first court appearance in Anoka County District Court on third-degree assault charges filed in the case.

    Bail was set at $40,000 or $15,000 with conditions. Those conditions include a no-contact order with the man he is accused of assaulting Saturday, June 16, at Tanners Station in Andover, according to Assistant Anoka County Attorney Paul Young. Clifford also was ordered to abstain from alcohol and to have no contact with the man's wife.
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    M Muckraker

    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minneapolis cop who put bar patron in hospital: It was other guy's fault, lawyer says (June 20 2012)

    The man critically injured after a Minneapolis police officer punched him at an Andover bar over the weekend was "out of control" before the altercation, according to the officer's attorney.

    Brian Vander Lee was loud, combative and threatening to Sgt. David Clifford before the former executive officer of the Minneapolis Police SWAT Unit hit the Ramsey man in the face, said Fred Bruno, Clifford's lawyer, in comments Wednesday, June 20.

    "(Vander Lee) was obviously intoxicated and out of control ... fighting with his own brother, using extremely profane language, and no one was doing anything about it," Bruno said. "The witnesses I've interviewed are painting a way different story than the biased witnesses speaking on behalf of (Vander Lee)," Bruno said.

    CBS Local Minnesota: Andover Bar Assault Victim Improving Slowly At Hospital (June 20 2012)

    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.

    KSTP: Fund Set Up for Family of SWAT Punch Victim (June 20 2012)

    A fund has been set up to raise money for the family of a man allegedly punched by an off-duty Minneapolis SWAT officer ... Archambault says cash or check donations can be sent to any TCF Bank branch for the "Brian Vander Lee Benefit."

    CBS Local Minnesota: Fund Set Up For Family Of SWAT Punch Victim (June 20 2012)

    Tanners Station is also holding a fundraiser for Vander Lee. Manager Lisa Blomquist says the event will be Saturday, July 21, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will include live music and a silent auction. There will be no cover charge, but donations will be accepted.
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    M Muckraker

    City Pages: Brian Vander Lee, victim of David Clifford's one-punch near-homicide, is home, in bad shape (June 29 2012)

    After two brain surgeries and more than a week in the hospital, Brian Vander Lee is back in his Ramsey home.

    Vander Lee suffered a severe brain injury June 16 when his head bounced off the concrete on the patio at Tanners bar in Andover after he was punched by Minneapolis SWAT team executive officer David Clifford. Clifford got upset with Vander Lee because he was allegedly talking loudly on his cell phone and using offensive language while hanging out with friends and family.

    According to a Pioneer Press report, Vander Lee has almost no hair left, staples circling his head, and is suffering from short- and long-term memory loss. But he is able to speak slowly, his attorney, Chris Messerly, says.

    Vander Lee, who works for the Star Tribune's advertising department and has a wife and four young daughters, "has a long ways to go," Messerly said, adding that the Vander Lee family plans to file a civil suit against Clifford once Brian's recovery is further along.

    "Hopefully he will have a good recovery but whenever you cut in to someone's brain there are risks," Messerly said.

    St. Paul Pioneer Press: Man allegedly punched by cop at Andover bar recovering from 2 brain surgeries, attorney says (June 29 2012)

    Brian Vander Lee has almost no hair left, and staples circle his head, but he is finally home.

    The 43-year-old was released from the hospital earlier this week and is resting at his Ramsey house with his wife and four daughters, according to his attorney, Chris Messerly. After two brain surgeries, the recovery ahead of him is long and uncertain, Messerly said.

    "He has a brain injury. He has incisions on his head that are like a big horseshoe shape. He has a long ways to go," Messerly said. "Hopefully, he will have a good recovery, but whenever you cut into someone's brain, there are risks."

    ...

    Dr. Mahmoud Nagib, a neurosurgeon and president of Neurosurgical Associates in Minneapolis who is not specifically familiar with Vander Lee's case, said it takes a long time to recover from one brain surgery, much less two.

    "It can be up to a year, if not more. ... He could have problems focusing, holding onto a job, concentrating, all (his) intellectual functions might be effected," Nagib said, adding that memory loss and dull, persistent headaches are the most common repercussions from brain injuries.

    People can make full recoveries, though, Nagib said.
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    M Muckraker

    This bad cop's career should be over -- good riddance!

    CBS Local Minnesota: Minneapolis Officer Found Guilty In Bar Assault (Apr 13 2013)

    A Minneapolis police SWAT team leader was convicted Saturday of assaulting a man while off-duty at a bar. An Anoka County District Court jury decided that Sgt. David Clifford was not acting in self-defense when he punched Brian Vander Lee, 44, on June 16 at Tanners Station in Andover. Jurors found Clifford, 48, guilty of first-, third- and fifth-degree assault ... Clifford will be sentenced May 29. A seven-year sentence is recommended under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, Palumbo said.

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