NB officer treated for ankle sprain, frostbite after catching suspect

A North Branch police officer sprained an ankle and experienced frostbite while in pursuit of a man who allegedly assaulted and attempted to flee the officer on foot.

James Lonsdale Artig III, 29, of North Branch, was charged by complaint with felony fourth-degree assault, gross misdemeanor providing false information to police and fleeing a police officer by foot, a misdemeanor, following the Dec. 15 incident.

On Dec. 16, Artig appeared in Chisago County District Court where unconditional bail was set at $60,000, or $30,000 with conditions, including no use or possession of controlled substances and formal pre-trial supervision, Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter said.

According to the complaint:

Just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, officer Rebecca Lawrence responded to a suspicious male report at a gas and convenience station in North Branch. Though the man had since left the business, store employees provided a description that resembled a similar report the Police Department received earlier that morning.

In a search of the area, Lawrence drove her squad west on Old Main Street where she located the individual, who matched the store’s description, including a red light on his forehead, walking. He was later identified as Artig.

The officer asked if he was all right, advised him that there had been a complaint and said people expressed concern for his well-being due to the cold weather and potential for exposure. The man noted he was fine and was “just walking around” because he had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend.

When Lawrence asked for his name, he responded with a different first and middle name from his own. Because Artig used his actual last name, however, the officer believed he was in fact James Lonsdale Artig III and was aware of an active warrant for his arrest.

Agreeing to speak further with the officer, who got into her squad to move, Artig took off running north on 14th toward the cemetery. Lawrence called for assistance and activated the squad’s lights and siren, but he continued to run and elude the officer.

Lawrence then pursued Artig on foot and caught up to him. He threw his backpack at her. The officer forced him to the ground where she struggled to detain him while he continued to fight with her.

A good Samaritan and a state trooper eventually assisted Lawrence, and Artig was placed into custody. A search of his backpack revealed items including various kinds of beer.

En route to the county jail in Lawrence’s squad, the officer stopped at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, where Artig, who had complained of pain, was taken for medical treatment and turned out to be fine. The officer, however, was treated for a sprained ankle and frostbite to three fingers.

Artig’s next day in court is an omnibus hearing Jan. 15, and a tentative jury trial has been set for
March 3.

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