SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 3 months just 99¢/month



Alleged victim of police brutality found incompetent to stand trial

Moorhead officer involved remains on paid leave.

Jennifer Joan Thomas SIZED FOR CUE.jpg
Jennifer Joan Thomas

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.

Related Topics: MOORHEAD
What to read next
For the first time since a November 2020 peak in cases, the number of active infections has surpassed 10,000. Health experts believe the known cases only paint part of the picture since many other residents are infected but haven't been tested at an official site.
In the Northeast, which saw some of the highest case loads during the latest surge, infections are down 36% week-over-week. The drop was more modest at the national level, with the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases falling 1% as of Wednesday, according to the Reuters tally.
"We see through the data that when we have a high vaccination rate in facilities, absolutely we have less infection there," said North Dakota Long Term Care Association President Shelly Peterson. "It really does work. It really does make a difference."
They say the surging pandemic is stressing health systems by not only sending more people to the hospital, but also by taking staff away who are either sick with COVID-19, recovering, or have to stay home as caregivers because the virus has closed child care centers.