MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Archambault says Brian Vander Lee has been a jokester who wouldn’t hurt a fly since they met as long-haired 13-year-olds, and he can’t understand what could have led an off-duty Minneapolis SWAT officer to allegedly attack his friend in a bar.
Archambault, who has known Vander Lee for 30 years, said Tuesday he was joking around on the phone with Vander Lee while going to meet him on Saturday at Tanners Station restaurant. Vander Lee was in the parking lot when the line went dead - and moments later a man ran out.
Archambault went to the patio and saw his friend lying on the ground, unconscious. The married father of four girls was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent brain surgery twice and where he remained Tuesday in critical condition, according to his brother.
“I pieced it together that this guy that was running did it to him,” Archambault said. “Why in the hell would he do that? … It’s a horrible freaking thing … It’s unbelievable.”
Minneapolis police Sgt. David Clifford was charged with third-degree assault and was released Tuesday after posting $15,000 bail. Under the terms of his release, he is not allowed to have contact with Vander Lee, and cannot use alcohol. No plea was entered, as is standard.