A St. Paul police officer is recovering Friday after being beaten up by a man he was arresting.
According to the criminal complaint, 20-year-old Coyler Mason Howard of St. Paul attempted to pull the officer’s gun by his belt, intending to kill him.
Howard was charged Monday in Ramsey County District Court with fourth-degree assault with a peace officer and attempting to disarm a peace officer.
Paul Police Officer Michael Ganzell, working out of the Department’s Western District, was sent to the 700 block of Linwood Avenue at around 12:30 a.m. on reports from two homeowners that a man was attempting to break into their homes.
The complaint states that both the landlords confronted the person who had left with some damage to each house.
The landlords gave the details to the police. The complaint states that shortly after, Ganzell saw Howard walking about a block from where the call originated.
Ganzel stopped his car, got out and told the man to stop twice and put his hand on his head. Howard began to obey, but as Ganzell got closer to him, Howard punched him in the head several times with clenched fists, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that Ganzell attempted to handcuff Howard, and Howard attempted to strike Ganzell’s eyes and repeatedly punched him in the head and face.
The complaint states that as Ganzell attempted to protect his eyes by burying his face in Howard’s chest, Howard left a slight dent on the top of Ganzell’s head, the complaint said.
Ganzell was able to use pepper spray to distract Howard which made him stop punching and instead, reached for the officer’s gun and pulled on him.
In an interview, Howard said he was annoyed at being sprayed in the face “and wanted to kill the officer,” the complaint said.
Howard reportedly told police, “I thought he was going to kill me so I tried to kill him, but then his gun was strapped to his waist, so I couldn’t find his gun.”
He admitted to living in two houses, but said he was only looking because he was interested in homes in the area, the complaint said. He repeatedly apologized and said that he should not have fought the officer.
Howard posted bail and was released on Monday. His next court appearance is October 11.
“This is just one example of what our officers are increasingly facing on a daily basis,” said Mark Ross, president of the St. Paul Police Federation. “This is why we need community support when using force to apprehend and arrest those who persecute our community and will stop at nothing to avoid being arrested.”