ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minneapolis police sergeant is jailed after a fight at a bar.
Sgt. David Clifford was booked into the Anoka County Jail after he turned himself in Sunday afternoon in connection with a fight with a Ramsey man at an Andover bar the night before.
Clifford is also the executive officer of the Minneapolis SWAT unit.
Brian Vander Lee, age 43, of Ramsey was taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids early Sunday. Anoka County Sheriff's Cmdr. Paul Sommer says video surveillance shows Clifford walking over to Vander Lee's table and verbally confronting him Saturday night. He then allegedly punched him once in the head and Vander Lee fell backward and may have hit his head on concrete.
Vander Lee is hospitalized and has undergone two brain surgeries. His family has requested no information about his condition be released. Sommer says Vander Lee is on life support.
His friend Mike Archambault posted a message on his Facebook page, asking those who know Vander Lee to support him. It reads:
As all of you know, I am a man of few words on Facebook.......For all of you that know Brian Vanderlee the best friend anyone could ever have, please pray for him. Brian had to have brain surgery tonight do (sic) to some [expletive] at Tanner Bar & grill. Brian, we are praying for you. Your friend, Mike.
Witnesses told detectives that Clifford, who was off-duty, confronted Vander Lee for speaking loudly on his cellphone.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports the men talked briefly, and then Clifford allegedly hit Vander Lee in the head and left.
Online jail records say Clifford was jailed on suspicion of first-degree and third-degree assault but hasn't been charged.
The bar manager at Tanners confirmed that the incident happened on the establishment's patio, but would offer no further information. Video from the bar's surveillance system has been handed over to investigators.
Minneapolis Police spokesman Sergeant William Palmer tells KARE 11 that Clifford has been with department since 1993. He currently is an executive officer of the SWAT team. Palmer says Clifford has been transferred to home assignment until an internal affairs investigation is complete.
Even though the suspect has not been charged, KARE 11 named him in this article after a Minneapolis police spokesperson publicly identified the officer.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press and KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)