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Man throws knife at Perham cop

A routine patrol turned into a tense confrontation as Perham Police Officer Mike Christopherson had first one knife, then another, tossed in his direction.

At 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, Christopherson noticed a man sitting on the sidewalk on the 100 block of 2nd Street SW. According to police records, Christopherson pulled his patrol car up to the man, asking him, "How's it going?"

The man did not answer his inquiry. Officer Christopherson then asked the man if he had any identification on him, and the man is reported to have said "nope."

At this time, the man is alleged to have flipped open the blade of a knife, showing it to the officer. Christopherson then exited the vehicle and started walking toward the man, extracting his taser, and telling the suspect to drop the knife. The man opened the blade again and tossed the weapon side arm to the left side of the officer.

The man then turned around and started to reach into his pocket. Christopherson warned him to take his hands out of his pocket. In doing so, Christopherson noticed that the suspect had yet another knife in his possession.

Christopherson instructed the man to drop the knife, at which point the suspect is alleged to have opened the knife and thrown it side arm at the officer's feet. The knife bounced by Christopherson's feet, and landed just past him.

The 19-year-old Ottertail man was eventually handcuffed, and was issued a citation for Consuming Alcohol Under Age 21.

Perham Police Chief Brian Nelson explains the reasoning behind the decision to just cite the man for his intoxicated state, "Possessing a knife is not a crime. It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to prove that he intended to assault an officer. Any time that there's a criminal offense, you have to prove intent."

Yet, with the man's obvious resistance to comply with the officer's demands, Nelson added how close the suspect came to getting tased or even arrested for assault. Had his actions escalated any step beyond what they were, the incident would not likely have ended with such lenient ramifications.