Good Samaritan comes to aid of state trooper assaulted after responding to crash

A nearly eight-minute traffic camera video obtained by Alpha News from the Minnesota Department of Transportation appears to show the immediate aftermath of the spin-out.

A Minnesota state trooper found himself wrestled to the ground and assaulted by a man who had crashed his vehicle in Brooklyn Center on Sunday night. Luckily, a passerby stepped in to help subdue the suspect.

Just after 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Crime Watch Minneapolis posted that a “help” call was heard over police scanner audio and that a trooper was pinned on the ground near Highway 252 and 70th Avenue North in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Subsequent posts in the thread indicated that the incident had stemmed from an apparent spin-out crash and that a Good Samaritan had stopped to help the trooper.

A nearly eight-minute traffic camera video obtained by Alpha News from the Minnesota Department of Transportation appears to show the immediate aftermath of the spin-out. A vehicle can be seen facing the wrong way along the guardrail and the apparent driver of the vehicle is seen talking to another driver who had stopped on the shoulder.

As the video proceeds, another vehicle can be seen pulling up onto the shoulder behind the first as the driver of the crashed vehicle begins to walk away. Shortly thereafter, a state trooper vehicle arrives at the incident and pulls up to the driver walking on the side of the highway.

As the traffic camera pans in, the trooper can be seen engaging with the person as the first vehicle that had stopped pulls away. Immediately, a struggle can be observed as the person throws a punch at the trooper. The two fall to the ground and the traffic camera pans in further to show the person on top of the trooper and the trooper struggling underneath.

Within 30 seconds of the struggle ensuing, the second vehicle that had stopped on the shoulder pulls up behind the trooper’s vehicle. A man can be seen exiting the vehicle and coming to the aid of the trooper, joining in the struggle to remove the man from on top of the trooper.

That Good Samaritan has since been identified as Vincent Williams of Fridley.

Vincent Williams, screen capture from WCCO

Williams told WCCO in an interview that when he approached the struggling pair he observed that the suspect was trying to grab the officer’s gun. Williams asked the officer if he felt comfortable grabbing his taser (to subdue the suspect) and that the officer asked Williams to hold onto the suspect.

Williams can be seen in the video helping to flip the suspect over to free the officer. Williams and the trooper can be seen continuing to struggle with the suspect for nearly two more minutes until other squad cars start arriving on the scene.

Audio captured from the initial state trooper dispatch channel indicates that the suspect was the person who initially called 911 to say that he had spun off the road and hit something. A dispatcher can soon be heard calling for other squads to respond to the scene and said that a taser had been deployed. The dispatcher also aired that a Good Samaritan was assisting to hold down the suspect. Another responder on site subsequently described to the dispatcher that it appeared the vehicle had come from the northbound lanes and had crossed the center median in the crash.

Matthew William Cleve, 38, of Zimmerman was taken into custody at Hennepin County Jail and has been charged with three felony counts, including disarming a police officer, prohibited person in possession of a firearm and fourth degree assault on a peace officer.

Matthew William Cleve, Hennepin County Jail

Cleve made his initial court appearance on Wednesday and was granted a public defender. Cleve has a history of felony convictions in Minnesota that include second-degree assault, fifth-degree narcotics and driving after cancelation-inimical to public safety. Cleve has several other convictions that include domestic assault and multiple DWIs and driving-related offenses.

Cleve remains in custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance in Hennepin County on Feb. 5.

Information released by the State Patrol did not identify the trooper but stated that he received scrapes to his face and leg. He’s now back on patrol.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.