A 47-year-old off-duty Minneapolis SWAT team member has been accused of assaulting another man at the Tanner’s Station restaurant in Andover on June 16.
David Richard Clifford of Andover, who is the executive officer of the SWAT unit, was arraigned June 18 in Anoka County District Court on a felony third-degree assault charge.
According to the criminal complaint, Anoka County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Tanner’s Station in Andover around 7:20 p.m. June 16 on a report of a physical altercation. When they arrived, they found that a man was unconscious.
When the man came to, he did not remember what happened. However, witnesses claimed that another man had punched him in the mouth area with a closed fist, which allegedly caused the victim to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground. The surveillance camera at the business allegedly captured the punch on video.
The victim was taken to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery because his brain was swelling.
The male who threw the punch allegedly fled and was picked up by a female in a vehicle. The license plate of the vehicle was searched in the registration database and police discovered the vehicle was registered to two people, including Clifford, according to the complaint.
Law enforcement went to Clifford’s home, but the lights were off and nobody answered the door. They tried a phone number, but nobody answered, according to the complaint.
June 17, an attorney contacted police and said his client — Clifford — wanted to speak about the incident.
Clifford alleged during a post-Miranda statement that he was at Tanner’s Station the previous evening with his wife and acquaintances to discuss National Night Out.
He alleged he took offense to some language another man was using in the table next to him and he asked him to stop, which he did for five to 10 minutes before starting to use the language again.
Clifford alleged the man cursed, stood up from his chair and he thought the man was going to strike him so he punched him.
After he punched him, he alleged he fled across the street and his wife picked him up.
On June 19, bail was set at $40,000 without conditions or $15,000 with conditions including that he has no contact with victim or the victim’s wife, not consume alcohol and submit to random alcohol testing.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]