Crookston man jailed after child custody dispute

Times Report

A Crookston man was taken into custody Friday after a child custody dispute that involved him brandishing a knife at local law enforcement officers and, according to the Crookston Police Department, reporting via 911 call that he himself was armed with a gun as well.

No one was hurt in the incident. Benjamin Strom, 24, is in custody at the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston, charged with second degree assault and obstructing the legal process.

It all begin at around 10:12 a.m. Friday. The CPD responded to a report from 137 Marin Avenue regarding a child custody dispute. Strom was upset that he was not being allowed by the child’s grandmother to see his daughter. Minutes before 11 a.m., Polk County dispatch received a 911 call reporting a man on Marin Avenue dressed in black clothing that had a knife. The caller was believed to have been Strom. When officers arrived, according to a CPD release, they observed Strom pacing back and forth on the street in front of 137 Marin Avenue with a knife in his left hand. Officers, while waiting inside their squads for assistance, tried several times to communicate with Strom and gave commands for him to drop the knife. He refused, the CPD reports. At one point, the CPD reports, Strom rushed a squad car, which retreated from him. 

At this point, Polk County dispatch received another 911, believed to be Strom again, stating the man on Marin Avenue had a gun in his waistline near his back. Strom was then observed placing his hand in the small of his back as if he had a gun. But, based on what officers were able to see, they didn’t believe he was armed with a firearm.

After multiple attempts to de-escalate the situation and multiple commands from officers for Strom to drop the knife, officers decided to deploy less-lethal means of force to get Strom and the incident under control. A less-lethal bean-bag round was deployed, striking Strom in the left thigh/buttocks. He dropped to the ground and was immediately taken into custody. Although bruised, he refused medical treatment and was taken to jail.