Two men have been charged with assaulting and injuring police officers during separate incidents in downtown Minneapolis over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.

Robert E. Ford, 21, of Minneapolis, was charged with second- and fourth-degree assault for hitting an officer with a stick. Christopher Smith, 39, was charged with fourth-degree assault on suspicion that he sprayed four or five officers with a chemical irritant near the same intersection of the other downtown incident.

Ford remains jailed ahead of a court appearance Tuesday. Court records do not list an attorney for him. Smith, who is also jailed and has no permanent address, is due in court Wednesday. Court records show no attorney for him.

The confrontations occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday after fights broke out and a stabbing was reported in the area, police said. Officers found two people with substantial head wounds.

The charges say that Ford was blocking an ambulance near S. Hennepin Avenue and N. 5th Street that was called to take an injured person to a hospital.

An officer escorted Ford away from the ambulance, prompting Ford to "take a full swing … striking [the officer] over the head with the stick," the charges said.

The officer was unsteady on his feet and taken to a hospital, where medical personnel found a knot on his head.

Charges against Smith say he sprayed the officers as they were attempting to take a man into custody, the criminal complaint said. The chemical irritant left some of the officers coughing and having difficulty seeing.

Upon arrest, Smith admitted spraying the officers and said he would do it again if given the chance, the complaint said.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482