ADVERTISEMENT

St. Paul man charged with assault in officer's beating

  • Article by: JOY POWELL
  • Star Tribune
  • October 1, 2012 - 9:34 PM

A St. Paul man has been charged with first-degree assault in connection with a beating in 2010 that left a police officer with traumatic brain injury, vision problems and other difficulties.

Thomas Jerard Swenson, who turns 35 on Wednesday, is charged with attacking St. Paul police officer Felicia Reilly. She remains on leave from her job, a police spokesman said Monday.

Reilly was attacked on March 24, 2010, when she responded to a residence in the 1600 block of Birmingham Street, after Swenson's parents called and told police that he had threatened to hurt them. He hadn't taken medication for a bipolar disorder for about a year, they said, and he was drinking and smoking marijuana.

According to a complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, the assault happened this way:

Reilly went to the residence, where she encountered Swenson, who was angry. When she ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets, he swung his fist toward her head. She told him she needed to handcuff him.

But Swenson hit her in the right side of the head, dazing her. She shot her Taser at him from about 5 feet away while ordering him to the ground. Swenson stepped back and grabbed at the probes, which seemed to have no effect on him.

Swenson punched and kicked the officer repeatedly, including in the head, as she lay on the ground, beginning to black out. The officer was having a difficult time generating enough power to hit Swenson with her baton, in part because Swenson's 75-year-old father was trying to grab him and hold him back.

Another officer arrived and shot Swenson with his Taser.

Reilly was hospitalized. Physicians determined in July that she has traumatic brain injury and related problems with thinking, as well as neck pain, vision problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Last week, a physician signed a form saying that she had suffered great bodily harm. Prosecutors then charged Swenson by summons with first-degree assault.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

© 2014 Star Tribune