1/13/2023 1:51:00 PM Man shot while wielding weapon formally charged
The county attorney’s office has formally booked/charged the North Branch man involved in a sword-wielding incident in North Branch at the end of last September. Erik Hammer, 31, was not booked on charges until last week, due to being transported for medical care when police officers discharged firearms, and one deputy shot Hammer with less-than-lethal rounds from a specialized gun.
Meantime, the September 30 use-of-force has been sent to state investigators for recommendations on prosecuting law enforcement involved. The evidence will be forwarded to the Isanti County Attorney to avoid conflicts with a local attorneys.
Hammer, according to the county attorney, should make his next court appearance in February.
He faces one misdemeanor alleging that Hammer knew of a no contact order in effect, that had been issued in June 2022 and he violated it with his being at the Oak Ridge Court address where the use of force incident happened. The female involved was uninjured.
There is a gross misdemeanor charge for assault of a police officer, due to Hammer allegedly advancing on responding law enforcement personnel with a samurai-style sword. There are two felony charges for assault with a dangerous weapon and for committing a crime wearing a bulletproof vest.
North Branch officers were dispatched when a woman called 9-1-1 to report she feared Hammer would try to enter her dwelling. She was on speaker phone and four North Branch officers heard her explain Hammer sought to commit “suicide by cop” as his end goal.
The law enforcement personnel confronted him shortly after when Hammer was in the woman’s driveway and ordered him to put down a large sword he carried. According to their statements he did not and walked towards them. There is also reportedly bodyworn camera footage of much of the call.
The BCA in Minnesota assumes responsibility for the use of force evaluation and developing evidence to forward for potential charges. The independent Isanti County attorney will review any potential charges related to the law enforcement firearm discharge. At this time there is no update on this use of force case.