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A Minneapolis man now faces criminal charges over a violent overnight outburst at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Charges filed against Frank Towers accuse the 44-year-old of numerous instances of inappropriate behavior during the early hours of Nov. 12, including threatening to kill TSA agents, attacking police officers, stripping naked, and headbutting TV screens..

Towers was charged in Hennepin County District Court Friday with fourth-degree assault against a peace officer and threats of violence, both of which are felonies. The charges note there are separate criminal cases pending against Towers, all either assault to domestic assault allegations stemming from Olmsted County.

Towers made his first court appearance in connection with the airport incident Monday morning.

What the charges say

According to the charges:

Towers first made contact with TSA agents and police officers around 4:15 a.m. on Nov. 12, while in the skyway checkpoint area of MSP Airport. He began screaming that he was going to "kill" TSA agents, and grabbed a stanchion line post — swinging it around and throwing it at TSA workers.

Airport police officers approached and told him to stop. Towers responded by saying he "did not have to stop ... it's a free country." After Towers refused to back down, officers used a stun gun on him. He then swung his arms up over his head while trying to hit an officer, but never actually made contact with anyone.

Backup arrived and officers were able to "physically" take him into custody. Towers continued to fight back while law enforcement attempted to handcuff him.

Surveillance video shows Towers' erratic behavior began earlier. At about 3:10 a.m., he was caught on camera punching and headbutting TV screens, then removing his clothes and masturbating. About an hour later he against took off his clothes, redressed, threw a chair, then approached the TSA employees in the skyway. 

His ensuing behavior — including the throwing of the stanchion and his attempted attack on officers — can also be seen on video.

He was booked into Hennepin County Jail around 5:40 a.m.

In the Olmsted County cases, Towers is accused of:

  • Throwing a knife at a roommate then hitting him with a hammer on April 4, 2020, then telling investigators he "should have killed" the victim
  • On May 19, 2018, hitting a house guest on the side of the head with a hammer, then throwing items at responding officers on the scene, including a fire extinguisher. 
  • Spitting on, then later throwing urine-soaked toilet paper at, deputies while he was being held in Olmsted County Jail in June of 2018.

Towers had been found incompetent to stand trial in June 2020 and was civilly committed, with regular competency evaluations scheduled. 

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