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Willmar man sentenced to prison for assaulting peace officers, grocery store employees

A Willmar man is in prison as a result of two days in October 2021 when he fought with Cub Foods employees, Willmar Police Department officers and Kandiyohi County Jail corrections officers.

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WILLMAR — Cody Lee Friese, 32, of Willmar, was sentenced this week to serve four concurrent prison sentences for assaulting grocery store employees, Willmar Police Department officers and Kandiyohi County Jail personnel last year.

Cody Lee Friese custody photo
Cody Lee Friese
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Corrections
A Willmar man faces numerous felony charges after allegedly assaulting store employees in Willmar and fighting law enforcement officers during his arrest and at the Kandiyohi County Jail. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

Friese was arrested in October 2021, when he fought with and threatened store employees and Willmar police officers at the Cub Foods store in Willmar.

Friese pleaded guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court in February to three felonies stemming from the incident at the grocery store, and another felony for fighting at the jail.

Eight other felony charges were dismissed at the July 19 sentencing hearing.

For making terroristic threats to store employees, Friese was sentenced to 26 months in prison.

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He received 29-month sentences on each of three fifth-degree assault convictions: two on officers outside the grocery store and one on officers at the jail. The assault convictions were enhanced because Friese had two or more domestic violence-related convictions in the past three years.

He received credit for 162 days already served in custody.

Friese was ordered to pay $975.72 in fines, court fees and restitution from his prison earnings.

Under state law, prisoners serve at least two-thirds of their sentences in custody and may serve the rest on supervised release. The Minnesota Department of Corrections website lists an anticipated release date of September 2023 for Friese, who is currently serving his sentence in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

According to court records, Willmar police were called to Cub Foods in late October 2021.

Friese was behind the deli counter yelling at an employee. When an assistant manager stepped in, Friese threatened the men and punched the assistant manager, causing a nosebleed.

They pinned Friese to the floor and escorted him from the store after he calmed down.

When told he would be arrested for disorderly conduct and assault, Friese fought with three Willmar officers.

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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.
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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.
The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.
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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.
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The officers were able to handcuff Friese, but he fought against getting in the back seat of a squad car. He had earlier said he did not want to go to a crisis center, but then yelled that he did. He also threatened to assault or kill the officers.

According to court records, several officers worked to place him in the squad car. During the struggle, he kicked an officer in the chest and knocked off a door handle. As he tried to lunge out one of the doors, the door struck another officer in the head.
Once he was inside the car, he kicked at the interior of the vehicle.

On the way to jail, Friese allegedly threatened to kill the officer who was driving.

Early the next day, Friese was found to have destroyed things in his cell, had broken a gel cold pack and gotten his clothing wet.

He allegedly told jail personnel that he was going to kill himself. As a result, they took him to a new cell and attempted to put him in a “suicide smock.”

He threw water at officers, fought with them and refused to comply with their orders.

A group of officers was able to handcuff Friese and take him to another cell. He continued to fight until a stun gun was used.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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