The Cities Blog

Officers’ job hazards include being bitten, punched and spit on

The Minneapolis police officer who was reportedly seriously bitten yesterday is a reminder of some of the hazards law enforcement officers face on the job.

Update: This afternoon the Minneapolis Police Department identified Officer Chad Meyer as the injured officer. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office charged James Curtis Dawkins, 54, with first degree assault. According to the complaint (posted below), Dawkins' bite severed one of Meyer's fingers at the first knuckle. The complaint also says doctors were unable to reattach the finger.

Here are some other instances gathered from charges filed in Hennepin County District Court:

According to a complaint filed this week, on April 6, State Trooper Gordon Shank was injured while trying to detain a man suspected of drinking and driving. Officers say Jamal Kwaku Bodom, 27, fought with Trooper Shank, pinned him to the ground and grabbed at the trooper's utility belt. According to the complaint, Bodom also spit on the trooper several times.

On April 7, an unnamed Metro Transit officer was reportedly spit on by a man suspected of threatening and spitting on a passenger on an LRT train.

On Feb. 10, two officers were allegedly injured in two separate incidents.

Brooklyn Park officer Josh White tried to restrain a man during an arrest, but the suspect flipped officer White on his head. According to the complaint, White landed on a concrete sidewalk and experienced "pain and dizziness." Two Minneapolis police officers were allegedly attacked when they tried to restrain Roberto Eron Betancourt, 28. According to the complaint, one officer told Betancourt he was being arrested for domestic assault. Betancourt told the officers "f--- you, it ain't going down this way." He then allegedly punched the officer in the face, leaving a mark, and spit at the officer's partner.

All the suspects named in the complaints were charged with assault in the fourth degree - among other charges. Minnesota law (609.2231 subd1) defines fourth degree assault against a peace officer this way:

"If the assault inflicts demonstrable bodily harm or the person intentionally throws or otherwise transfers bodily fluids or feces at or onto the officer, the person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $6,000, or both."

Read the charges from this week's incident:

Officer Bitten Complaint by Minnesota Public Radio