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Police officer kicked in the head while making an arrest; stolen trucks recovered

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River Falls police were called to the area of State and Charlotte streets before dawn Wednesday, June 8, to find two male suspects allegedly going through parked cars. They found the pair holding bags that apparently contained items stolen from cars and also from nearby Kwik Trip on South Main Street. One of those arrested was a male juvenile from River Falls. The other was 23-year-old Travis H. Johnson, also from River Falls, who was out on probation stemming from a past burglary.

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Police are still trying to match the evidence recovered with the various car owners who might have been victims in that area.

The juvenile arrestee was taken into custody without incident. He was later cited for underage drinking.

Johnson, however, allegedly faked having a seizure. An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital. He was checked by a doctor, found to be OK and released.

As two officers tried to get him in a squad car and take him to county jail in Ellsworth, Johnson began to struggle and allegedly kicked one of the officers, Mike Nelson, in the side of his face. Nelson was hurt but kept working with the other officer to transport Johnson.

Along the way to jail on Hwy. 65, Johnson allegedly kicked out the back window of the squad car. He then allegedly rammed his head into the cage that separates the back seat from the driver and "split his forehead open."

Police took Johnson back to River Falls Area Hospital. There, his wounds were treated and he was eventually taken again, this time in restraints, to jail in Ellsworth.

Police Sgt. Jon Aubart said Johnson may be facing these charges: Obstruction, battery to a police officer, retail theft, disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, possession of stolen property and violating probation.

Nelson, the injured officer, was later checked by a doctor. Aubart said Nelson should be able to return to work without missing any time.

Also overnight, River Falls police were dealing with three auto thefts that including other jurisdictions:

--A Honda pickup truck that was stolen from the 1500 block of West Maple Street. The truck, which was unlocked with the keys inside, was found crashed near a farm field with its airbags deployed. It had significant damage and was towed to the River Falls impound lot.

--A vehicle stolen out of Ellsworth was later found on East Johnson Street in River Falls.

--A vehicle stolen out of Red Wing, Minn., was later found south of the roundabout of Cemetery Road and Hwy. 65.

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Phil Pfuehler
Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
(715) 426-1050
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