This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




State of Minnesota,



Richard Allen Downs,


Filed January 28, 1997


Parker, Judge

Ramsey County District Court

File No. K3953684

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)

Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Darrell C. Hill, Assistant County Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, Suite 315, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)

John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lyonel Norris, Assistant Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Parker, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.



Appellant Richard Downs challenges a jury conviction for fourth-degree assault of a peace officer. Appellant contends the state failed to prove that he intended to harm the officer. We affirm.


When the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a verdict is challenged, the appellate court is limited to a painstaking analysis of the record to determine whether the evidence was sufficient to permit the jurors to reach their verdict. State v. Steinbuch, 514 N.W.2d 793, 799 (Minn. 1994). The appellate court cannot retry the facts, but must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the verdict and assume the jury believed the witnesses whose testimony supported the conviction and disbelieved the witnesses to the contrary. State v. Merrill, 274 N.W.2d 99, 111 (Minn. 1978).[1]

Whoever assaults a licensed peace officer "when that officer is effecting a lawful arrest or executing any other duty imposed by law and inflicts demonstrable bodily harm is guilty of a felony * * *." Minn. Stat. § 609.2231, subd. 1 (1994). "Assault" is defined as

(1) An act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or

(2) The intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.

Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 10 (1994).

This case arises out of an incident at appellant's son's school. Appellant admitted that he went to the school on the day in question and became involved in a confrontation with Joseph Jenkins, a licensed peace officer, who was performing his duties as a school liaison officer. Appellant admitted that his physical actions during the confrontation caused injury to Jenkins.

Appellant's sole argument on appeal is that the state failed to establish that he intended to harm Jenkins. Intent may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances, such as a person's statements or conduct at the time of the criminal act. State v. Whisonant, 331 N.W.2d 766, 768 (Minn. 1983). It may be inferred that a person intends the natural consequences of his actions. State v. Lundstrom, 283 Minn. 130, 140, 171 N.W.2d 718, 724-25 (Minn. 1969). "[I]ntentionally means that the actor either has a purpose to do the thing specified or believes that the act performed will cause that result." State v. Cole, 542 N.W.2d 43, 52 (Minn. 1996).

Appellant's own testimony established that he was angry during his visit to the school. He admitted using profane language and directing it at Jenkins. When appellant testified about Jenkins, he stated that at one point during the incident he thought, "I won't answer him. I have pure contempt for him. Disgust." Appellant also admitted that he had three prior felony convictions, including a conviction for third-degree assault.

Jenkins testified that school policy and a city ordinance prohibited the use of profane language on the school grounds. He testified that he warned appellant several times to stop his disruptive behavior, and he asked him to leave the building. The situation escalated in the school hallway and doorway. Jenkins told appellant he would be arrested if he did not stop his behavior. When appellant continued to use loud, obscene language and started to go back into the school building, Jenkins put his hand out to stop appellant's progress. Appellant then "charged" at him and hit him under the eye.

This testimony created sufficient evidence for a jury to infer that appellant intended to assault Jenkins. His profane words, which he directed at Jenkins, as well as his actions of charging and hitting, indicate that appellant was angry and intended to harm Jenkins. Moreover, the testimony of several witnesses corroborated Jenkins' statements and provided further evidence of appellant's intentions.

Furthermore, Jenkins testified that appellant hit him a second time when Jenkins attempted to handcuff one of his hands. Appellant admitted that Jenkins had shown him his badge, that he feared being handcuffed by Jenkins, and that he physically resisted at that time. This admission indicates that he intended to harm the officer when he struck him because he wanted to prevent the officer from cuffing him. Appellant also admitted he grabbed Jenkins by the ankles and threw him over his back. Jenkins suffered two contusions under his eye, a tear to his rotator cuff, and a dislocated shoulder in the altercation.

Finally, appellant suggests he should not be held responsible for assault of an officer because he did not know appellant was a police officer. The language of Minn. Stat. § 609.2231, subd. 1 (1994), does not specifically require the state to prove that an accused knew his victim was an officer. However, this court need not determine whether the statute includes a knowledge requirement because the record contains evidence demonstrating that appellant had met Jenkins before and knew he was a police officer for the school. This information further supports the intent element. Because the record contains sufficient evidence to support the jury's conviction, we affirm.


[ ]1 Given this narrow standard of review, it is not helpful to this court for appellant's brief to recite the facts from appellant's perspective only. The appellate court may not rely on testimony that the jury did not believe.