David Clifford's wife talked trash to Brian Vander Lee after her husband was sentenced
Yesterday, former MPD SWAT team executive officer David Clifford was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison for nearly killing Star Tribune advertising employee Brian Vander Lee with a sucker punch on the patio of Tanners Bar in Andover in June of 2012.
During the hearing, a choked-up Clifford apologized to Vander Lee and said, "I was wrong."
"It turns out I never took off my uniform [that night]," Clifford said, according to the Pioneer Press. "I decided to be a cop when no police intervention was necessary. I should have walked away."
But Clifford's contrite attitude apparently wasn't shared by his wife.
According to the Star Tribune, as Kelly Clifford left the courtroom, she walked near Vander Lee and said, "Don't have too much to drink." Her comment was a reference to Vander Lee's allegedly drunk and obnoxious behavior in the moments before Clifford socked him, leaving him on life support for 40 days after his head hit the patio floor. (You can watch surveillance footage of the incident here.)
Vander Lee endured three brain surgeries and says his cognitive abilities still aren't what they were before Clifford punched him. In court, he said he's struggling at his job and doesn't like to go out in public anymore.
Clifford's sentence represented a downward departure from the state sentencing guideline's recommended sentence of seven years for first-degree assault. He's expected to actually serve about two years and four months behind bars, and will likely be on supervised release for the rest, the Strib reports.
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