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One-legged Clay County inmate accused of punching, knocking out correctional officer

By Archie Ingersoll

MOORHEAD – Prosecutors have accused a Clay County Jail inmate with one leg of knocking out a correctional officer and breaking bones in his face.

The inmate, Damien Leon Heminger, 24, Moorhead, was charged Monday with fourth-degree assault of a correctional employee and third-degree assault.

According to court papers, officers were loading Clay County inmates into a vehicle Friday to be transferred to the Polk County Jail in Crookston. The officers planned to put Heminger in a wheelchair because he’s an amputee missing his left leg below his hip, but he refused to sit in the wheelchair, court papers stated.

Heminger would not talk to the officers except to tell them not to touch him. At some point, he stood up and punched correctional officer Joshua Corneliussen twice in the face, knocking him unconscious, court papers said.

Other correctional officers subdued Heminger, and a sheriff’s deputy pulled Corneliussen to safety. He was taken to Sanford Hospital, where he was diagnosed with fractures to his left eye socket and cheekbone, court papers stated.

Heminger, who’s representing himself in court, was being held Monday at Clay County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail without conditions or $25,000 bail with conditions. He’s set to appear in court March 21.

Heminger, who also has a pending domestic assault case, was previously convicted of domestic assault in 2012. Last year, he was convicted of driving while intoxicated, auto theft, marijuana possession, assault, aggravated assault and simple assault, according to court papers.

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