— A 41-year-old Minneapolis man charged with taking his infant son without permission allegedly told Willmar police officers trying to arrest him that they would "have to pry him from my dead, lifeless fingers."
Eric Allen Petersen is charged in Kandiyohi County District Court with depriving another of custodial rights, a felony, and one gross misdemeanor charge of obstruction of the legal process — interfering with a peace officer.
He was arrested last week in Willmar after he was alleged to have taken his year-old son from Fridley to Willmar without permission from Hennepin County Child Services.
Petersen was in custody at the Kandiyohi County Jail as of Tuesday on a separate no-contact order violation but was no longer shown in custody locally as of Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, a Hennepin County Child Protection social worker first reported that Petersen had taken his child and was likely staying at a residence in southwest Willmar with a woman.
The child had been adjudicated as a child in need of protective services. According to the criminal complaint, legal custody of the infant was transferred to Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health in November for placement in foster care.
Willmar police found Petersen at the residence where the woman allowed officers inside. Petersen was sitting in a recliner with the child asleep in his lap.
The woman told law enforcement that she feared Petersen would fight with the officers and that he would not allow them to take the child.
According to the complaint, Petersen told officers at least three times that they would have to kill him in order to take the child away.
Officers told Petersen that he would be arrested, and that in order to place him in custody, he would have to give the child to the woman.
According to the complaint, an officer noticed a large pocket knife in Petersen's front pocket. The officer attempted to gain control of Petersen's arm and Petersen resisted with the child still in his other arm.
The woman was eventually able to take the child from Petersen.
Petersen continued to struggle, according to the complaint, and a Taser stun gun was deployed twice to force Petersen to comply.
According to court documents, Petersen was allowed to be released on his own recognizance with conditions that include not violating an order for protection and not using or possessing firearms, ammunition or explosivesl
His next scheduled court appearance in Kandiyohi County is an omnibus hearing on Feb. 7, 2023.