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Cottage Grove man sentenced for head-butting cop

A Cottage Grove man was sentenced last month for head-butting a police officer.

Michael S. Benner, 27, was ordered to spend three years on probation and complete 59 days' worth of jail time through a Sentence to Service program after he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault against a police officer. He was sentenced Dec. 12.

The criminal complaint described Benner's crime this way:

Early in the morning of Aug. 20, 2011, a Cottage Grove police officer was dispatched to the 8800 block of Greenway Avenue on a report that a young man was walking through someone's backyard. The officer stopped a car in the area and talked to the driver, a woman who said her boyfriend had left a nearby party and was intoxicated.

The officer then saw a man, later identified as Benner, slumped over on the front steps of a home in the 8800 block of Greene Avenue. Benner submitted to a preliminary breath test and had an alcohol concentration of 0.186, more than twice the legal driving limit. As the officer prepared to transport Benner to a detox facility because he was extremely intoxicated, Benner became agitated and started swearing at the officer and a reserve police officer assisting at the scene. Benner then pushed the reserve officer into a squad car and when the cop intervened Benner drew back his head and head-butted the officer in his right eyebrow and forehead, according to the complaint. The cop suffered swelling and a headache.

Benner was arrested.

A 13-month prison sentence was stayed for three years. Benner will not have to serve prison time if his probation conditions are met.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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