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Moorhead police say woman assaulted officers; disturbance may have been election related

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A patron of the Northsider bar in Moorhead took this image of an arrest that was made at the bar Friday evening, Aug. 3. Moorhead police said two officers were assaulted after they responded to a call about a disturbance at the business. Special to The Forum 3 / 3

MOORHEAD — A Moorhead woman was in jail Friday night, Aug. 3, facing possible assault and disorderly conduct charges after reportedly scratching and gouging two officers to the point of bleeding at a north Moorhead bar.

Moorhead Police Lt. Chris Carey told The Forum on Friday that 54-year-old Michelle "Shelly" Swenson was in the Clay County Jail facing possible charges of fourth-degree assault of two police officers and a possible misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

Carey said Swenson may also be facing an additional charge of obstructing legal process stemming from an incident at the Northsider bar, located at 309 17th St N., in Moorhead.

According to Carey, officers Vern Helmetes and Shawn Griego were called to the bar and bowling alley on a report of a woman who was agitated, violent and screaming profanities.

Swenson's comments were directed at Moorhead City Councilwoman Mari Dailey, who was the one who called 911, according to Dailey.

Dailey told The Forum Friday evening that comments from Swenson were also directed at bar owner and Swenson's ex-husband, Robert Swenson.

Dailey is running for the District 4 seat on the Clay County Commission against Al Gordon and incumbent Kevin Campbell, who is Michelle Swenson's boyfriend.

Dailey said her difficulties with Michelle Swenson began before she decided to run for the county board.

Dailey said Michelle Swenson told her if she was going to run against Campbell for the seat Campbell has held for 15 years, it was "going to get ugly."

Campbell told The Forum in a phone interview Friday evening that he was "totally shocked" by what happened at the Northsider Friday night.

"There's no way shape or form that I suggested she do this. I don't condone it," Campbell said. "Irregardless of my campaign, the relationship is really jeopardized. She needs some help."

Campbell said that he and Michelle Swenson have been dating on and off since September 2015.

He said he filed a restraining order against Michelle Swenson last December.

Asked if he would either break up with Michelle Swenson or drop out of the race, Campbell said he doesn't want to give up on her, but understands the incident is "not good for my campaign even though I had nothing to do with it."

Campbell added: "I made a post on my re-elect (Facebook) page a while back that I do not condone any negative stuff whatsoever, including with what she evidently did tonight," he said. "I'm at a loss."

The post in part reads:

"Recently there have been allegations that my campaign has been sending negative comments about one of my opponents. Let me be clear, I am running on my record of accomplishments and what I would like to continue to do. ... Anyone doing it is doing it on their own."

He added in the post that he hopes he can "earn your support in the primary on August 14th."

Dailey said there were about five people in the bar Friday night, including Michelle Swenson's daughter, when around 6:30 p.m., Michelle Swenson walked in screaming at her ex-husband and then at Dailey, who said she then called 911.

According to a press release issued by Carey, Michelle Swenson continued to "yell profanities at staff and refused to follow the officers' commands to leave the establishment. Michelle Swenson was placed under arrest for obstructing legal process and disorderly conduct."

Three officers — one of whom was not injured and was not identified by Carey—arrived and escorted Michelle Swenson out of the bar. It was outside where officers were assaulted by Michelle Swenson when attempting to handcuff her, according to Carey.

"She caused injuries on both officers significant enough to draw blood," Carey wrote.

Michelle Swenson was taken to the Clay County Jail where she was being held late Friday night pending filing of charges, Carey said.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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