Minneapolis police officer's finger bitten off by man in midst of mental health crisis

Around 6 p.m. yesterday, an as-of-yet-unidentified Minneapolis police officer was trying to deal with a man in the midst of a mental health crisis on the 2400 block of 10th Avenue South when the man allegedly bit one of the fingers on the officer's left hand.

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The bite was reportedly forceful enough to rip off the officer's finger below the knuckle. It's unclear whether doctors were able to reattach it.

The suspect, 54-year-old James Dawkins, was first taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment, then booked into jail on suspicion of assault. According to reports, the incident began when Dawkins's roommate called police and said Dawkins was "having an emotional breakdown and breaking items in the apartment." An MPD press release says that "several officers and the use of a Taser" were ultimately needed to subdue Dawkins.

The Star Tribune reports that Dawkins is a former teacher who was convicted of disarming a police officer in 2010 and spent 20 months in prison. The officer he allegedly bit is a 10-year veteran of the MPD.

According to WCCO, two of the officers who responded to Dawkins are members of the MPD's Crisis Intervention Team. It's unclear whether the bite victim himself is a member.

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