Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Staff reports
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Traffic stop leads to arrests

Moose Lake man attempts to disarm officer during stop


Thomas Clifford Needham, 36, Moose Lake, and Kordell Joseph Defoe, 19, Cloquet, were arrested on December 11 at approximately 7 p.m. after a traffic stop at the 2500 block of Big Lake Road on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

Chief Jeremy Ojibway of the Fond du Lac Police Department issued a statement describing the incident.

"The vehicle was stopped for driving without headlights. The occupants of the vehicle were uncooperative and the driver would not give any identifying information. Officers believed that the occupants were under the influence of some type of narcotic.

"Officers ordered the driver to exit the vehicle. When he refused, officers talked the individual half way out of the window of the car. When he again refused to finish exiting the vehicle officers had to physically remove him from the car. The driver continued to resist the officers.

"While the officers were engaged in the altercation with the driver, the back seat passenger reached through the window of the vehicle and grabbed hold of the officer's handgun, attempting to disarm him. His attempts were unsuccessful.

"Once the individuals were secured and searched, the driver had a knife in his possession and the female passenger had a BB gun that looked like a handgun. Pepper spray was also located in the vehicle.

"Both male individuals were ultimately taken into custody and are being held at the Carlton County Jail."

Needham was formally charged in the Sixth Judicial District Court in Carlton on Tuesday, December 15, with obstruction – attempting to disarm a police officer, a felony, and obstruct the legal process with no force. The disarming charge carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Defoe was arraigned on Tuesday, December 15, on charges of fourth-degree assault of a peace officer, obstructing the legal process with force, driving after revocation and possession of a legend drug.

Authorities said Defoe was in possession of gabapentin, a prescription drug often used to treat epilepsy, according to the complaint.

Judge Robert Macaulay set Needham's bail at $5,000 with conditions or $50,000 without. Defoe's bail was set at $500/$5,000.


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