Complaint indicates officers drew their weapons and kicked in apartment door to find him.
A Crookston man is accused of false imprisonment and domestic assault after allegedly pushing an apartment door shut refusing to allow his pregnant girlfriend to leave, and chasing her outside. Joseph James LaFrance, 22, also reportedly fled from Crookston Police Department officers to avoid arrest and, later, hid in an apartment where officers drew their weapons and kicked down the door to find him.
According to the court complaint, on October 14 at approximately 4:37 a.m., an officer and sergeant from the Crookston Police Department were dispatched to report of a domestic disturbance by South Minnesota Street and old Highway 75 in Crookston. The female caller, “XX,” stated that her boyfriend had prevented her from leaving the residence but she was later able to get away and her boyfriend began to run after her outside.
The CPD officer responded quickly to the area and located the female standing on the roadway and the male standing near her in the ditch. As the officer pulled up, the male began to walk away from the female and away from the road so the officer opened his door and ordered the male to stop. The male then reportedly ran away from the officer to the south and east through a row of pine trees.
The officer chased the male on foot and ran straight east, and advised dispatch of the foot pursuit. The officer also radioed for the Sgt., who had just approached his location, to stop his patrol vehicle. As the Sgt. did, the male individual turned and ran south around an apartment building. When the officer rounded the corner, he observed the male open the door to an apartment and went inside of the residence.
The officer then advised dispatch of the apartment number and began knocking on the door and announcing, “Police Department.” The male individual allegedly refused to come to the door so the officer began to kick the door in an attempt to open it. After kicking the door several times, the officer stopped, drew his duty weapon from its holster and stood aside while the Sgt. attempted to kick the door open. The Sgt. was successful kicking the door open and drew his weapon as the Sgt. and officer entered the apartment.
The Sgt. saw in the living room that a coffee table had been flipped over and that another door off the living room was closed. The officer and Sgt. did an initial sweep of the apartment and continued toward the closed door which the officer presumed was the bedroom door. The officer kicked the door and it flew open to reveal the male individual lying on the bed. With his gun drawn, the officer ordered the male onto the ground. The male did not comply and only held his hands up, so the officer grabbed the male’s right wrist and pulled him to the ground from the bed. Once the male was on the ground, the officer ordered him to place his hands behind his back and the officer holstered his weapon. The male was then handcuffed and dispatch was advised that the suspect was in custody.
The male individual was identified as Joseph LaFrance and was escorted out of the apartment, and placed into the Sgt.’s patrol vehicle.
The officer then walked back into the intersection where his patrol vehicle was located and met with “XX” to drive her back to the apartment. When asked what happened that evening, “XX” stated that she had been looking for LaFrance earlier that evening when he was drinking at the bar, she couldn’t located LaFrance until around 4 a.m. when she went and picked him up and drove back to their apartment on South Minnesota Street. Once back at their apartment, “XX” said that LaFrance began yelling and screaming, and broke a table. “XX” attempted to leave, but LaFrance reportedly pushed the door shut, refused to let her out and attempted to take her phone. “XX” said that LaFrance attempted to grab her, but she kept pushing him away with her foot. Once she got outside the apartment, LaFrance chased her into the street. “XX” then called 911.
“XX” told the officer that she is pregnant, that LaFrance is the baby’s father, that they had been together for one year, and that this had happened about a month earlier as well, but that she dropped the charges. “XX” said she was not going to forgive LaFrance this time and stated that when LaFrance consumes alcohol that he gets “crazy.”
The officer then told “XX” that he wanted to grab his camera and take pictures of the doors and broken table. The officer also grabbed a victim services card, wrote the case number on it, and gave it to “XX.” The officer then took pictures of the damages that LaFrance had allegedly broken prior to the 911 call and “XX” stated that she was going to her parent’s house.
Soon thereafter, the Sgt. read LaFrance his Miranda warning and LaFrance said he was willing to talk to the Sgt. During the conversation that was captured on Watch Guard and a digital recorder, LaFrance said he and his girlfriend “XX” had been fighting all night, that he kept trying to give “XX” her keys and telling her to leave, that “XX” refused to leave or take her keys, and that “XX” kept hitting him. LaFrance then said that “XX” left the apartment and that he chased after her, but didn’t know that “XX” called the police.
The Sgt. then asked LaFrance if he hit “XX” and LaFrance reportedly responded something to the effect of, “I don’t want to answer that without an attorney,” said the complaint.
While speaking with LaFrance, the Sgt. could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from him and noticed that his speech was slurred.
The officer then asked the Sgt. to talk to “XX” to clarify some points and “XX” indicated that at one point in the struggle LaFrance grabbed her wrist and pulled/yanked on her, that incident caused her to fall to her knees, and that LaFrance tried to drag her while she was on her knees but she was able to push him away.
“XX” also said that LaFrance’s behavior made her scared for her safety and for the safety of their baby.
After LaFrance was transported to and booked into the Northwest Regional Corrections Center, a search showed that LaFrance has no criminal history.