A St. Paul police officer tried to give a homeless woman a break as he confronted her shoplifting from a downtown grocery store.
But instead of accepting the officer’s gesture, she stabbed him twice and is now jailed on felony charges, according to a criminal complaint.
Articia L. Moore, 23, was charged Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree assault and assaulting a police officer in connection with the encounter Monday night at the downtown Lunds & Byerlys on E. 10th Street. She remains jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail.
Moore stabbed officer Joe Ryan in the chest with a screwdriver and in the arm with a kitchen knife, the charges said. The officer’s protective vest guarded his chest from injury, while his left bicep had a superficial cut, the charges said.
This is at least the third time since August that Moore has been charged with defying law enforcement, including one instance in which she allegedly punched a St. Paul police officer.
According to the criminal complaint involving the latest allegation:
Shortly after 8 p.m., officer Ryan was told by store employees that Moore had hidden items in her pants and jacket without paying for them. Ryan stopped her as she was leaving and offered to let her return the items and avoid getting in legal trouble.
Moore denied taking anything without paying, even though the officer could see the items concealed in her clothing.
She then returned a beverage, but Ryan insisted that she give up the rest.
Moore became uncooperative and explained that she was homeless.
The officer saw the knife’s handle in her pocket and grabbed her arm. She backed away, pulled out the screwdriver and struck Ryan in the chest with an overhand swing.
As the two struggled, Moore cut the officer with the knife before she could be brought under control and arrested.
“She had options,” said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a spokesman for the Police Department. “Thankfully, he wasn’t seriously hurt.”
Moore is due back in court Nov. 5.
In the earlier case, Moore pleaded guilty Tuesday to gross-misdemeanor charges of assault and obstructing a police officer in connection with an Aug. 21 encounter in St. Paul.
In that instance, an officer was called to the Dorothy Day Center because Moore was causing a loud and destructive disturbance in the shelter. She failed to follow the officer’s orders to leave the facility, prompting him to put his hand on her backpack. She responded by punching him in the face and trying to scratch and bite the officer, police said.
Moore is scheduled to be sentenced for that incident on Nov. 20.
She also remains charged with a misdemeanor for obstructing a police officer on Aug. 31.
A message was left Wednesday with Moore’s attorney seeking the defense’s reaction to the allegations in both cases.