A University of Minnesota police officer was charged with misdemeanor assault Thursday after allegedly grabbing a woman by the throat during an altercation following a traffic incident in St. Paul.
Phillip Lombardi, 49, of Faribault, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with two misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree assault and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct for the July 8 incident, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
He faces up to 270 days in prison and $3,000 in fines if convicted on all counts.
According to the complaint:
A woman was walking through a crosswalk near Smith Avenue and Chestnut Street in St. Paul on July 8 when a car nearly struck her.
The woman, a St. Paul city employee, told officers she kicked the vehicle, which lead to a verbal exchange between her and Lombardi, the driver. She told police Lombardi got out of his car, walked towards her and “extended one arm toward her neck and grabbed her.”
Lombardi left the scene after a bystander confronted him, the complaint said.
Lombardi told police he didn’t grab her “by the throat” but “placed [his right arm] on the victim’s shoulder and moved her backwards.” He also said his hand was on the woman for “a second,” adding that he left after the woman screamed, drawing the attention of passers-by.
A witness told police he saw Lombardi and the victim arguing loudly with each other, and saw Lombardi grabbing the victim by the neck.
Lombardi has been placed on paid leave, according to the Pioneer Press.