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UPDATE: Three Willmar Police officers hurt in assault, suspect in court today

WILLMAR — All three Willmar Police officers hurt in a Thursday afternoon assault by a 23-year-old man are doing fine, according to Police Chief David Wyffels.

The three officers were attacked and assaulted when they went to arrest Cody Lee Friese of Willmar. The incident happened around 2:40 p.m. Thursday along the 800 block of 13th Street Southwest.

According to Wyffels, Sgt. Mike Markkanen was hit in the back of the head during the incident and was taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital, where he was checked out and then released.

Officer Sam Neubauer sustained a cut and was also treated and released at Rice.

Officer Tony LaPatka, who was just finishing his day as the school resource officer at the Willmar Middle School, responded to Markkanen and Neubauer’s call for assistance, Wyffels said, and sustained a head injury but didn’t seek medical attention. Friese allegedly head-butted LaPatka while he was being escorted to a squad car.

According to an earlier news release from Felt, officers went to the residence to check for Friese, who was wanted in Yellow Medicine County for a court order violation.

Friese is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail and is expected to make his first appearance on a charge of fourth-degree assault of a peace officer charge this morning in District Court.

Officers found Friese, who became violent and attacked and assaulted the officers, who called for help from additional officers who arrived on the scene.

Felt said there was a “lengthy struggle” but officers eventually subdued Friese through the use of TASERs and were able to restrain him.

There were no weapons used by Friese, according to the report.

Friese received minor injuries that did not require medical treatment.

Willmar police were assisted by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Patrol and the Willmar Ambulance Service.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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