The associate warden of Lino Lakes prison faces domestic violence charges after he allegedly struck his wife in the face during an argument Tuesday night.
John R. Williams Jr., 45, was charged in Hennepin County District Court on Wednesday with two counts of misdemeanor domestic assault, disorderly conduct and interfering with a 911 call in connection with the altercation at his Brooklyn Park home.
Williams was released from custody on $10,000 bond Wednesday evening after spending the night in jail.
The Department of Corrections placed him on paid investigatory leave Thursday.
“The allegations are obviously troubling,” said Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell. “We will conduct a full investigation and make appropriate decisions based on the results of that investigation.”
According to the criminal complaint:
Brooklyn Park police responded to a report of a domestic assault in the 9900 block of N. Evergreen Avenue just before 5 p.m. Tuesday after a neighbor called 911. Officers found Williams’ wife, who had a small cut on the right side of her face, and the couple’s 7-year-old daughter hiding at the neighbors’ home.
Williams’ wife told police that her husband’s phone went off earlier that day with a message from his girlfriend. An argument ensued and Williams followed his wife into the bathroom as she called her mother. He shoved her face, throwing her head into the wall and the back of the toilet she was sitting on, charges say. Williams then snatched the phone as she yelled at their daughter to call for help.
He left with his wife’s phone in hand. So she grabbed her daughter and ran barefoot through the snow to the neighbor’s house. The child told authorities that she witnessed the assault.
“It should be noted that the defendant works for corrections and possess [sic] many guns,” prosecutors wrote in the complaint. “The state has extreme safety concerns.”
Under the conditions of his release, Williams is barred from having access to firearms. His first court appearance is scheduled for Saturday morning.
He could not be immediately reached for comment. An attorney is not yet listed for him on court records.
Williams has served as associate warden of administration at Lino Lakes for more than two years. Before that, he held the same position at the Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections in Pittsburgh, where he previously worked as Major of the Guard and a corrections lieutenant, according to his LinkedIn page.
Williams does not appear to have a criminal record in Minnesota beyond minor traffic infractions.
Liz Richards, executive director of Violence Free Minnesota, said reports of domestic violence have surged in many jurisdictions across the state in recent weeks. Calls to the Day One crisis help line jumped 26% following Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order.
“We’re extremely concerned about what’s happening out there,” Richards said. “Whenever it’s somebody within law enforcement or the criminal justice system … we expect a higher standard.”