Celebrity chef Justin Sutherland facing threats of violence felony charge

Prominent Twin Cities celebrity chef Justin Sutherland is facing a felony charge for threats of violence after being arrested in St. Paul on Friday.  

According to the criminal complaint, St. Paul police responded to the 800 block of Front Avenue around 8 p.m. for reports of an armed person entering a vacant building and a woman who appeared to be "in distress."

At the scene, officers reported seeing Sutherland walking out the back of the building. Sutherland claimed he was the one who called 911 and while officers tried to arrest him, he was yelling "racially derogatory remarks" at the responding officer. 

The criminal complaint did not say whether Sutherland was armed when officers arrived, but law enforcement executed a search warrant at the address and reportedly recovered ammunition, the victim’s broken phone, and 10 firearms, including one with what appeared to be a blood-like substance. Responding officers also reported seeing blood on Sutherland’s hands.

The victim, who was Sutherland’s girlfriend, told authorities she and Sutherland had gotten into an argument when he allegedly started strangling her, saying, "I could kill you." 

The woman told police she called her sister when he took the phone and broke it, so she ran to the neighbors to use the phone. Upon her return, she claimed that Sutherland was in the doorway pointing a gun at her. At some point during the argument, the complaint said a friend arrived at the address and the woman ran to the bathroom until police arrived. 

Court records said police responded to the address on Front Avenue just an hour and a half earlier. A woman called 911 reporting her "boyfriend choked her and was trying to kick her out of the apartment." 

Dispatch noted she was crying and would not provide the man’s name because she "did not want to get anyone in trouble." When police arrived, the woman said they had a disagreement, but that she was fine and did not need help. No arrests were made. 

Sutherland was charged with one felony count of threats of violence and made his first court appearance Monday morning. He was released from jail on his own recognizance. He must surrender any guns to law enforcement. 

Sutherland's lawyer, John Daly, told FOX 9 Sutherland does not engage in domestic violence and denies the allegations in the complaint as untrue. 

"This was a disagreement with his [Sutherland's] girlfriend as their relationship was coming to an end," Daly said in a statement. "He looks forward to the truth coming out in court."