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Published June 19, 2012, 01:04 PM

Minnesota SWAT officer accused of punch is out on bail

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A Minneapolis police sergeant and SWAT officer is out on bail after appearing in court for allegedly punching a man in the head at a suburban bar.

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A Minneapolis police sergeant and SWAT officer is out on bail after appearing in court for allegedly punching a man in the head at a suburban bar.

Sgt. David Clifford is charged with third-degree assault. Authorities in Anoka County say he punched 43-year-old Brian Vander Lee on Saturday — apparently over a loud cellphone conversation.

The complaint says Clifford told police he asked Vander Lee to stop using offensive language, then punched him in self-defense.

As part of his release, Clifford can't contact Vander Lee or use alcohol.

Minneapolis Chief Tim Dolan says Tuesday he is praying for Vander Lee and his family, and an internal investigation is ongoing. Clifford is on home assignment.

Clifford's attorney says her client hopes for the chance to tell his side of the story.

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