David Clifford's wife talked trash to Brian Vander Lee after her husband was sentenced

Categories: Crime, Police
Thumbnail image for david clifford rect.jpg
David Clifford
Yesterday, former MPD SWAT team executive officer David Clifford was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison for nearly killing Star Tribune advertising employee Brian Vander Lee with a sucker punch on the patio of Tanners Bar in Andover in June of 2012.

RELATED: David Clifford fired from MPD following felony assault conviction

During the hearing, a choked-up Clifford apologized to Vander Lee and said, "I was wrong."

"It turns out I never took off my uniform [that night]," Clifford said, according to the Pioneer Press. "I decided to be a cop when no police intervention was necessary. I should have walked away."

But Clifford's contrite attitude apparently wasn't shared by his wife.

According to the Star Tribune, as Kelly Clifford left the courtroom, she walked near Vander Lee and said, "Don't have too much to drink." Her comment was a reference to Vander Lee's allegedly drunk and obnoxious behavior in the moments before Clifford socked him, leaving him on life support for 40 days after his head hit the patio floor. (You can watch surveillance footage of the incident here.)
Brian Vander Lee crop.jpg
Vander Lee, in the hospital after Clifford's punch.


Vander Lee endured three brain surgeries and says his cognitive abilities still aren't what they were before Clifford punched him. In court, he said he's struggling at his job and doesn't like to go out in public anymore.

Clifford's sentence represented a downward departure from the state sentencing guideline's recommended sentence of seven years for first-degree assault. He's expected to actually serve about two years and four months behind bars, and will likely be on supervised release for the rest, the Strib reports.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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33 comments
Matthew Meuers
Matthew Meuers

nice to know that the police would assault someone while on duty...not ok once off?

Matthew Meuers
Matthew Meuers

"It turns out I never took off my uniform [that night]," Clifford said, according to the Pioneer Press. "I decided to be a cop when no police intervention was necessary. I should have walked away."

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

Wife could have gone up to victim and offered apology and condolences.  She could have looked at his wife and said "I'm so sorry this happened, it was wrong of my husband to strike your husband."  She could have showed some sign of class.  She didn't.  She and her bald headed fascist of a husband will meet justice one day, on a bar patio, to the tune of breaking glass and a good solid kick to her douche bag hubby's skull.

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

It's not illegal to be drunk in a bar. It's not illegal to hang out on a patio and trash talk your friend's favorite sports team.  The victim did not harass his attacker, he ANNOYED him, wow! What a crime...  David Clifford thinks he was acting like a police officer when he sucker punched the victim and fractured his skull?  Because that's what a cop is supposed to do when he gets annoyed?  Really?  I would like to see where that is covered in the officer training curriculum probably indexed under "How to let your penis do your thinking for you when handling social confrontation."  The man is a loose cannon and a bully, his wife is a flaming cunt.  Her hubby lost a job he clearly SHOULD NOT HAVE! the victim loses a part of his life/cognition.  He is permanently injured by the actions of one testosterone fueled douche bag with a badge.  Fucker got exactly what he deserved, only too short a sentence.  Lets also not forget the chapter on "How to run away like a little bitch when you realize you just fucked up in a massive way."  I'm pretty sure at that part he DID need to be a police man and 1. Call an ambulance, 2.  Stabilize the victim and make sure he is kept motionless to prevent further back or spinal injury due to improper movement. 3.  Pull out his little notepad and make a report for the soon to be started investigation.  He did none of these things.  He ran off like a little bitch.  Screw this bald headed asshole to the wall.

Lon Miller
Lon Miller

So sad. Everybody loses here. Guy loses his health, cop loses his career, both wives lose some part of their husbands all over a moment of anger. Alcohol + testosterone = rocket fuel.

Mike Underhill
Mike Underhill

Clifford was a warrior. In Japan, according to the warrior code of Bushido, a disgraced warrior whose master has let him go for wrongdoing tactfully commits Seppuku, or ritual suicide by disembowelment. Please fall on your 9mm, David. It's the right thing to do.

megnathan
megnathan

You know what? I don't think she was out of line at all.  Let's not forget the "contribution" that Vander Lee made to the situation.  He WAS drunk.  He WAS disorderly...a royal pain in the you-know-what.  It's too bad he was hurt as badly as he was, but if anyone else in that bar who wasn't a cop had hit the jerk, there probably wouldn't have even been charges filed.  So yes, there's more than one lesson to be learned here and #1 is, don't drink too much and be a jerk in public!

Dave Sweeney
Dave Sweeney

bitch... hope he gets a taste for cock in prison then leaves her when he gets out...I mean, he might as well, seeing as how he's a cop in prison he's going to have more bones in him than a graveyard anyway...

Adam Mikelson
Adam Mikelson

Former cop, but still a step in the right direction.

Kevin Griser
Kevin Griser

Somebody sucker punch her and send her to jail as well, both are complete idiots

Marc Spencer
Marc Spencer

she should have been charged with obstruction from the get go. she abetted her criminal husband just by driving him home..... nice lady

KIllWhiteTrash
KIllWhiteTrash

Beat the shit outta the wife after she goes out for a drink...


Melissa Niederkorn
Melissa Niederkorn

Ugh. Fortunately, I felt from the first reporting that this case spoke for itself. The cop said he ran to protect himself and diffuse the situation after punching the guy out. That was exactly the opposite of what he should've done. Pretty obvious. Sounds like birds of a feather flocking together with the wife.

Mitch Burud
Mitch Burud

If this is true, the judge should throw her in jail for contempt of court.

evikjames1
evikjames1

Aaron, did the judge cite a reason for the downward departure? 

Cheri Ponto
Cheri Ponto

A cop getting a sentence for doing something wrong? I'm amazed.

ajlalk3
ajlalk3 topcommenter

@megnathan Seriously, you think because Clifford was a cop, he got charged? Uh, no. If anything, the fact that he was a cop got his sentence reduced. I've been around plenty of drunk, annoying people in my life. You know what I do? I go some place else, or tell them to shut the hell up. I be the better man and walk around, I don't cold cock someone like a punk.

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

@megnathan Here's a thought for you and for David and his bitch of a wife.  If you don't like listening to drunks shoot their mouths off, don't go to a FUCKING BAR!  That's what people go to bars for, to drink and to socialize with their friends.  My conversation may very well offend you if I'm drinking and speaking my mind.  That's called freedom.  It isn't against the law to be drunk at a bar in Minnesota, one has to undertake an illegal action while drunk to violate the law, you know, something like punching a guy in the face and shattering his skull.  The wife was more than out of line in her comment.  Likely the victim will have difficulty re-committing his horrible crime of busting his buddies chops verbally over some beers in a business intended for that kind of behavior because he is going to have to undergo extensive rehab to regain full use of his faculties and limbs.. So let's check again.  Vander Lee was drunk ( not illegal) he was being a loudmouth on the patio of a sports bar (Tacky, but not illegal. ) He stood up when an angry man entered his personal space (Also not illegal) and he got sucker punched and fractured his skull.  David, a cop, who is supposed to know self control, and the law, felt like it was his duty to punch a man in the face who didn't even have his hands up to aggress or defend himself.  Sounds to me like the victim was fully within his rights and the cop is now a convicted felon.  So let's all forget what Vander Lee did to "Contribute" to the situation since all his visible and witness described behavior was legal and in fact proper for the location.  Your comment is EXACTLY like blaming a rape victim for having on sexy clothes.  Vander Lee's behavior was not out of line or improper, but punching somebody out over their words is.

atrupar
atrupar moderator

@evikjames1 Downward departures aren't uncommon for first-degree assault cases, and the judge said he believed Clifford was legitimately remorseful. Clifford's attorney also argued that part of his punishment involved losing his job, and that he clearly didn't have intent to hurt Vander Lee as badly as he did.

megnathan
megnathan

@danilomancinelli1 @megnathan Since you are still obsessing over this, months after the fact, I suggest you invest in a remedial reading/spelling course.  It's "hole" and hide "there"....you are beyond pathetic. 

megnathan
megnathan

@mohanlon3 @megnathan Actually, it IS illegal to be over the legal limit and intoxicated in public.  And I didn't say that Clifford was right in punching the guy.  I said it wasn't out of line for his wife to remind Vander Lee what actually CAUSED the situation in the first place.  Yes, I'm sure he will never be able to "socialize" the way he did before, but if he hadn't been stopped that night, who's to say he wouldn't have gotten behind the wheel and killed someone?  Drunk is drunk - and it's wrong.  If you have to drink to excess to have fun, you have my sympathy.  Vander Lee was out line and illegal.  And your comment about rape victims was distasteful and over the top.  Obviously being drunk and obnoxious in public is a touchy subject for you.

ObserveLife
ObserveLife

@atrupar @evikjames1 Aaron, are/were there ever civil trials to help pay Vander Lee's medical bills (and partially compensate for his ongoing disability)? A lot of the reporting has focused on the perpetrator; I'm just as interested in the victim. It seems like these are recourses he (and his family) should be able to pursue.

danilomancinelli1
danilomancinelli1

@megnathan @danilomancinelli1 No Obsession! This is a link that I saw on a story related to another one of your buddies, "Michael Hart," a scum cop, who tossed a 110 pound woman into a cell concrete bench and was charged with Aggravated Battery! BTW, the "WHOLE" AND "THEIR" was intentional because all of you crooked cop supporters are the same.. someone with logic disagrees with you and they happen to misspell a word, and, then you morons try and discredit their post by commenting on the spelling.. this is EXACTLY what I expected of you.. you would be such a tool for those pyramid scheme scams with AMWAY! Get a higher Intelligent Quotient!

SayWhatSayWhat
SayWhatSayWhat

@megnathan @mohanlon3 Would you please post a link to the relevant state statute that deals with public intoxication? I'll be waiting.... Also, notice how they have a patio? Why's that you might ask? Why not just put them with their beers out on the sidewalk? Because it's not the same thing. So keep pulling facts out of thin air.

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

@megnathan @mohanlon3 where does it state he was over the limit?  Who gave him a breathalyzer before he was attacked?  So ignoring that assumption.  What caused the situation in the first place was a cop who felt like bossing somebody around and had no business doing so.  The cop decided to get physical, that's the only wrong action here.  The victim was probably obnoxious, but that's not illegal.  Next you justify the action taken by Officer Douchebag by what MIGHT have happened.  You make a lot of assumptions.  Maybe his buddy was driving, maybe they were sitting outside waiting for a cab, maybe they take the bus and don't even drive or were within walking distance of home.  Also, I checked the drunk in public laws, maybe you should too.  Sitting on the patio of a private establishment isn't "in public"  The "legal limit" you mention only applies to driving.  Not sitting on a patio.  Keep trying, I'm sure if you look at it just right you can find SOMEONE other than the guy now convicted as a felon to blame.  Getta clue.  What is a touchy subject for me is nanny state asshats like you who will go through massive twists of logic to place blame on anyone but the actual perpetrator of violence here.  You are blaming the victim here remember, that's why I made the comparison to blaming a rape victim for their choice of dress.  I think there are a lot of parallels between forcing your will on someone with violence in both situations.  PS.. I have been employed by a liquor store and as a bar security guard.  I know the local dram shop laws and codes.  Ask any cop, as long as a person violates no other laws they are free to be drunk in public.  That's why so many hammered people are left alone on Nicollet Mall.  Whenever a person is charged with public intox, there is always an accompanying charge, like nuisance, disorderly conduct, etc...  None of which apply here.

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