Lawyer: Clifford was trying to prevent fight, not start one - KMSP-TV

Lawyer: Clifford was trying to prevent fight, not start one

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There is still a lot we don't know about Sgt. David Clifford's side of the story that landed him with a third degree felony assault charge.  But according to Fred Bruno, Clifford's attorney, he was trying to prevent a fight - not start one. There is still a lot we don't know about Sgt. David Clifford's side of the story that landed him with a third degree felony assault charge. But according to Fred Bruno, Clifford's attorney, he was trying to prevent a fight - not start one.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

There is still a lot we don't know about Sgt. David Clifford's side of the story that landed him with a third degree felony assault charge.

But according to Fred Bruno, Clifford's attorney, he was trying to prevent a fight - not start one.

"The commander up there in Anoka County pretty much had my guy tried and convicted before everything came out. I'm not real happy about that," Bruno told FOX 9 in a phone conversation. "It didn't come out that this guy was highly intoxicated, might have been involved in a punch fest with his brother in front of the patrons there."

Brian Vander Lee's friends disagree. Mike Archambault says he stands by what he told us on Sunday.

"They (Vander Lee and his brother) are all about having a good time... and they never ever start a fight... they are the peace makers," Archambault said.

So why did Sgt. Clifford run after throwing one punch that ultimately landed Vander Lee on life support?

"Well because he's being chased," Bruno said. "This guy was with a very rough crew and they did catch him and beat the s*** out of him. My guy went to the hospital with what we believe was cracked or broken ribs."

Again, Archambault says that's untrue.

As he pulled into the parking lot of Tanner's, he was on the phone with Vander Lee when he was hit.

"I see a guy in the black shirt came running out of the patio area of Tanners. A couple guys go chasing after him I find out later it's the manager of the place, Mike, and a couple other guys," Archambault said.

Archambault admits he and Vander Lee's brother jumped back in his truck to follow the man who turned out to be Sgt. Clifford.

"We see him running in the parking lot there, we cut him off, we both got out and we both got out and said you are not going anywhere. You are going to jail, you know," Archambault said. "The guy kept backing up and backing up."

Archambault says that's when Clifford's wife pulled up in her truck and picked him up. They say they never touched Clifford but did give police the car description and license plate number so Anoka County investigators could find him.

Clifford made his first appearance in court Tuesday morning and has been charged with third degree assault. He posted bail and his next court appearance is July 19th.

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