Ex-city council member denies beating another member in fight at meeting in northwest Minnesota
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- A former Thief River Falls Council member has pleaded not guilty to accusations that say he assaulted a city leader during a committee meeting.
Joshua Mark Hagen, 38, entered the plea Monday in Pennington County District Court after saying he would fight the fifth-degree assault charge that stemmed from a July 10 scuffle at City Hall in this northwestern Minnesota city of about 8,500 residents..
Court documents state he and council member Jerald Brown got into a verbal altercation during an Administrative Services Committee meeting. The two began shoving each other, and Brown swung a chair at Hagen, court documents said. Hagen allegedly was "pounding on Brown's head as hard as he could," witnesses said.
Brown pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, but District Judge Tamara Yon ordered the case to be expunged if he doesn’t commit any crimes in the next six months.
Hagen resigned from his City Council position a week after the altercation. He previously said he was defending himself against Brown, adding he would fight the allegations.
Hagen faces a maximum punishment of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. His next hearing is slated for Sept. 17.