Maple Grove officer dragged 40 yards during traffic stop: Video, charges

A Maple Grove police officer was dragged roughly 40 yards by a motorist during a traffic stop last month, recently released dashcam videos show. 

Daniel Rudolph, 40, of St. Louis Park, is charged with obstructing the legal process-interfering with a peace officer and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle in connection to the Nov. 13 incident that injured two Maple Grove police officers. 

According to the criminal complaint, at about midnight on Nov. 13, a Maple Grove officer, later identified as Brandon Gross, pulled Rudolph over near Weaver Lake Road and 83rd Way for driving with tinted windows and failure to signal. Gross approached Rudolph's vehicle and spoke with Rudolph and his passenger. Gross learned Rudolph's license had been suspended, and the officer saw what looked like an empty alcohol container and a can of Mike's Hard Lemonade on the vehicle's floor.

Gross asked Rudolph to get out of the vehicle, and while he was getting patted down, Rudolph "darted to the driver's side of the vehicle and got inside," charges said. Gross and his partner tried to stop Rudolph by "placing their hands on his person as he sat in the driver's seat," the complaint reads. The officers and Rudolph "exchanged words" as the officers tried to stop Rudolph, but he then put the car in gear and drove off, with the officers still at the driver's side door. 

One officer fell off and away from the vehicle as Rudolph drove off, but Gross was dragged roughly 40 yards. Gross eventually got free and away from the vehicle as Rudolph turned onto another street, where he continued to flee, the complaint states.

The officer who fell suffered "minor abrasions," while Gross was taken to the hospital, charges said. According to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Gross suffered an injury to his shoulder that kept him out of work for more than two weeks, and he has lingering pain from the incident. 

Rudolph was eventually arrested on Nov. 14, charges said. He has a lengthy criminal history out of Illinois that includes armed robbery and being an armed habitual criminal.

Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, in a press release this week, called on the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to charge Rudolph with assault. 

In response, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said in a statement:

"We are grateful the officer in this case escaped the incident with minor injuries. We fully recognize and appreciate the potential danger of the defendant’s actions and that is why we charged him with two felonies for his conduct. As any prosecutor or defense attorney understands, we need evidence to support charges and prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence here is the defendant fled from officers in a motor vehicle and caused injuries while interfering with the officer’s duties. And we charged him with the most serious charges we were ethically able to charge based on the evidence. To prove assault, we would need to prove he intentionally used the car with the purpose of inflicting bodily harm. Not simply that bodily harm was caused by his actions. And evidence that his purpose was to use the vehicle in that way isn’t there."

Court records show Rudolph has an omnibus hearing scheduled for Dec. 14 in connection to this case.