Clifford sentenced 43 months for assault conviction

Andover resident and former Minneapolis SWAT team leader David Richard Clifford was sentenced Thursday afternoon (July 11) in Anoka County District Court to 43 months in prison for assaulting another man last summer at an Andover restaurant.

David Richard Clifford
David Richard Clifford

Clifford, 48, punched Brian Vander Lee, 44, on the patio of Tanner’s Station in Andover June 16, 2012. Vander Lee fell back and struck his head against the concrete patio, which caused a severe brain injury. He needed three brain surgeries and has continued medical issues because of the injury, Anoka County Attorney’s Office prosecutors Blair Buccicone and Robert Goodell said during the trial.

“It is unfortunate that an uncontrolled temper led to such severe injuries and today’s sentencing,” said Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo in a prepared statement. “It has changed the lives of the victim and the defendant, as well as their families. I hope this brings closure to the victim and everyone else involved in this case.”

An Anoka County Jury April 13 found the 48-year-old Clifford guilty of first, third and fifth degree assault. Anoka County District Court Judge Lawrence Johnson only sentenced Clifford for the first-degree assault conviction while no sentence was pronounced for the other two charges.

Clifford must also pay $3,377.18 in restitution.

Eric Hagen is at

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