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Hudson man charged in RF incident

A disturbance in downtown River Falls after bar closing Sunday resulted in one patrol officer getting slapped in the face and another getting a dose of pepper spray in the face.

Lance J. Veness, 22, Hudson, was arrested and jailed for the incident. Veness was later charged by the Pierce County district attorney with a felony for battery to a police officer and two misdemeanors -- obstruction and disorderly conduct.

Bruce Whitaker was the officer hit in the face. Whitaker reported that he tried to stop Veness as he charged toward the officer while running south in the middle of the northbound lane of Main Street.

Veness, who was with his older brother David, claimed they had been jumped and attacked on West Maple Street.

Just a few minutes earlier, Whitaker had gotten the brothers away from The Library Bar, 106 N. Main St., after a disturbance there.

Lance Veness appeared loud and agitated, and had to be restrained by his brother.

The two appeared to leave the downtown area, walking west on Maple Street toward the bridge.

But soon after Lance Veness was seen running back, this time south on Main Street. He was also shouting about being in a fight.

Whitaker and later Officer Bryan Jensen tried to stop and subdue Lance Veness after Veness allegedly slapped Whitaker and run past him.

Whitaker's use of pepper spray on Veness also got into Jensen's face. Pepper spray is a non-lethal gaseous chemical that irritates the eyes and can cause temporary blindness.

Jensen couldn't see and was having trouble breathing, so Ed Roughton, an owner for The Library Bar, assisted Whitaker in handcuffing Veness.

Soon other officers arrived to bring the situation under control.

Lance's brother David was later arrested for following after his brother and then trying to prevent his arrest.

David Veness said he and his brother were attacked outside by a very large man -- the same man, he claimed, who was trying to pick a fight with them inside The Library Bar.

The attack took place on the 100 block of West Maple Street.

The brothers said they defended themselves and even beat up their attacker. This individual was never found.

Lance Veness was taken to the county jail in Ellsworth. He was first treated for a bump on the head at the River Falls Area Hospital.

Lance Veness made a first court appearance Monday. He has a preliminary hearing set for 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in Pierce County Circuit Court.      

David Veness was given a $172 local fine for disorderly conduct.

Police Chief Roger Leque said Tuesday that neither Jensen nor Whitaker was seriously hurt in the scuffle.