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Park Board commissioner recovering after box cutter attack

Posted by: under Parks and recreation, People and neighborhoods, Public safety Updated: October 18, 2012 - 9:07 PM

Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Jon Olson is recovering from serious facial cuts after he said he was slashed multiple times with a box cutter outside a bar last month. He said he was trying to protect a female employee from an acquaintance who had allegedly had too much to drink.

Olson needed more than 40 stitches to his face, he said. His right hand, which suffered damaged tendons, also required stitches and is in a splint. He said, he will probably need some plastic surgery for his nose as well.Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Despite his injuries, Olson was in good spirits during a phone interview this week. He said, his condition has improved greatly since the incident that left him with noticeable wounds. He joked he could have walked in last weekend’s Zombie Pub Crawl without makeup.

"It was pretty gruesome. It really was. I’m amazed at the work the surgeon did," Olson said, on Thursday night.

Olson's involvement in the incident was originally reported on the "The Adventures of Johnny Northside" blog.

According to a criminal complaint charging Anthony John Ellis with first degree assault, police were dispatched to North Memorial Medical Center during the early morning of Sept. 30 to investigate an assault. Olson was interviewed at the hospital as he was being treated for numerous cuts to his face and hands. He told police that he had been at the T-Shoppe Bar located on the corner of Fremont and 42nd Avenues North earlier that night when Ellis, 49, of Minneapolis, kept harassing a woman. Olson said the woman works at the Dairy Queen he owns.

Olson told Ellis, who he said was drunk, to leave the woman alone, but later on that night as Olson left the bar, he allegedly saw Ellis accosting the woman again near the parking lot. Olson said he saw the man strike the woman with the box cutter cutting her arm so he stepped in between them and  then Ellis allegedly slashed Olson a couple times. Olson fell to the ground and was able to grab Ellis' legs and cause him to fall, Olson said. He hit Ellis until he stopped slashing him, Olson said.

According to the complaint, "[Olson] was advised by medical personnel that these facial wounds would all leave sizeable, permanent scars and that plastic surgery would be required to minimize the disfigurement."

Olson said he was just grateful to be alive and that nothing worse happened to the woman.

"It’s an unfortunate, stupid incident," he said.

Olson is keeping a low profile for now, he said. He went to a park board meeting shortly after the incident but had on a hat and kept his face down, he said. He's also started to grow a beard to help cover up the injuries to his face.

The assault charged filed against Ellis in Hennepin County District Court, is a felony and could mean up to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

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