North St. Paul Man Charged with Assault, Fleeing Police after Courtroom Ruckus

A 20-year-old North St. Paul man allegedly punched one sheriff's deputy and threw a chair at in the Washington County courthouse before breaking free and fleeing across Highway 36. He was eventually arrested and charged with felony assault.

A 20-year old North St. Paul man faces felony assault charges after he allegedly threw quite the scene in a Washington County courtroom after police attempted to take him into custody on a mental health order.

Eric Paul Woodford was charged by the Washington County Attorney’s Office with third-degree assault, two counts of fourth-degree assault of a police officer, obstructing the legal process and fleeing.

According to court documents:

Two Ramsey County sheriff's deputies on Jan. 3 were at the Washington County Government Center to take Woodford into custody when he allegedly told the officers he did not want to go to the hospital.

When officers attempted to put Woodford in handcuffs, he reportedly spun around and punched a deputy in the head twice, knocking him to the ground.

Woodford then broke free, and once outside the courtroom he picked up a wooden chair in the waiting area and threw it at a Washington County sheriff's deputy, the complaint states. While diving out of the way of the chair, the deputy reportedly broke his arm.

After using a Taser, officers were able to take Woodford into custody, the report states. While under arrest, Woodford repeatedly told the officers he had assaulted a deputy and wanted to be taken to jail, not to a hospital.

As the deputies walked Woodford through the parking lot of the Government Center he pulled away from officers again and fled on foot across Highway 36. He was eventually arrested at an apartment building just south of Highway 36 in Oak Park Heights.

According to the complaint, Woodford has a history of mental health issues and has reportedly been combative with jail staff since his arrest.


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