Associated Press, Published April 13 2013
Minneapolis officer found guilty in bar assault
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis police SWAT team leader has been convicted of assaulting a man while off-duty at a bar.
The Anoka County District Court jury decided Saturday that Sgt. David Clifford was not acting in self-defense when he punched Brian Vander Lee on June 16 at Tanners Station in Andover. Clifford said Lee tried to take a swing at him.
The 44-year-old Vander Lee, from Ramsey, hit his head on the concrete patio and needed three brain surgeries.
The 48-year-old Clifford was convicted on first-, third- and fifth-degree assault.
Clifford will be sentenced May 29. Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo says a seven-year sentence is recommended under Minnesota sentencing guidelines.
Closing arguments concluded Friday and the jury deliberated for several hours.