Weather Forecast


Man pleads to lesser charge for damaging door of cop squad car

WILLMAR — Edgard Valenzuela, 21, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended charge of gross misdemeanor damage to property for kicking the door of a Willmar Police Department squad car hard enough to bend the door so far that it would not close.

As part of a plea agreement, the charge was reduced from a felony count of first-degree damage to property. He will be sentenced March 17.

The original charge, along with misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process, were filed after Jan. 1, when officers were called to the 500 block of Lakeland Drive Southeast on a report of a loud party in an apartment building. Because it appeared there were people who were under 21 years of age consuming alcohol, officers remained at the building to investigate the situation.

Valenzuela was one of several people who became more and more belligerent with officers, accusing the officers of violating their civil rights.

He was placed in handcuffs and into a squad car, with officers attempting to talk to him through the open car door. Because he was yelling and refused to cooperate, an officer closed the door on the car.

Later the officers noticed that the door wouldn’t close all the way and determined that Valenzuela had kicked the door with such force that the door was bent outward. The entire rear portion of the door was bent and there were shoe prints on the inside of the window.

According to the complaint, preliminary repair estimates for the damage ranged from $1,150 to $2,000.

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. 

(320) 214-4373