Alleged victim of police brutality found incompetent to stand trial
Moorhead officer involved remains on paid leave.
MOORHEAD — A 47-year-old Fargo woman charged with assaulting a police officer has been found incompetent to assist in her own defense and her case has been suspended.
Jennifer Joan Thomas is charged in Clay County District Court with felony counts of fourth-degree assault against a police officer and threats of violence. She also faces one misdemeanor count of carrying a BB gun.
According to court documents, Thomas has been found to be "mentally ill or cognitively impaired so as to be incapable of understanding the proceedings against her or participating in her defense."
As a result, criminal proceedings in the case are temporarily suspended, court records show.
Thomas has a review hearing set for April 19, 2019.
The charges against Thomas stem from an incident that occurred Sept. 9 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Moorhead, where Thomas allegedly made suicidal comments while brandishing a BB gun, court documents show.
After officers arrived, they took Thomas into custody and disarmed her, court records show.
As officers tried to place a seatbelt around Thomas in a squad car, she spit in an officer’s face, court documents said. The officer then used pepper spray on Thomas to gain control of the situation, according to court documents.
Thomas was taken to a hospital by Moorhead Officer Matthew Lambert to be medically checked out
According to court documents, Lambert said Thomas at one point stood up from her hospital bed, and when he tried to get her to sit down, she spit in his face.
Lambert also said as he tackled Thomas onto the hospital bed, she appeared to strike her face on part of the bed, according to court documents.
Through an investigation, however, it was determined Lambert struck Thomas in the face with his elbow, according to Cass County District Court documents charging Lambert with aggravated assault on Thomas, who suffered a fractured nasal bone and a bruise to her right eye, according to the documents.
Lambert remains on paid administrative leave from the Moorhead Police Department pending resolution of the case.
Lambert has a preliminary hearing set for Nov. 29.