Minn. cop loses finger, bitten by suspect in fight

MINNEAPOLIS - AUGUST 06: An anti-war banner hangs near police guarding the perimeter of the collapsed I-35W bridge August 6, 2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The job of removing debris and destroyed cars, the cost of which is estimated to be up to $15 million, was to begin today after Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said they had hired a St. Paul contractor. Searchers reported finding no new victims to add to the list of five confirmed dead. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson
Scott Olson/Getty Images, via CBS Minnesota
(CBS) MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis police say an officer had part of a finger bitten off when he responded to a reported mental health emergency.

CBS Minnesota reports that, according to police, officers Chad Meyer and Laura Turner were dispatched late Tuesday afternoon in response to a 911 call that indicated a man was experiencing a mental health emergency. Two backup officers who specialize in mental health issues were also dispatched.

When Meyer and Turner arrived, police say the pair was immediately attacked by the 54-year-old male suspect, identified as James Curtis Dawkins. Police say Dawkins tried to disarm Officer Meyer, and that during the fight, he bit down onto Meyer's gloved index finger, severing it at the first knuckle.

Backup officers reportedly arrived within two minutes, a Taser was used and several officers were able to subdue Dawkins.

Both Dawkins and the injured officer were then taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment.

After Dawkins was treated, officers arrested him and booked him into the Hennepin County Jail.

On Wednesday, Dawkins was charged with first-degree assault. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine, CBS Minnesota reported.

The injured officer,. Meyer, has more than 10 years of law enforcement experience and joined the Minneapolis Police Department in January of 2008.

Photo: scott olson/getrty images via cbs minnesota