Former Minnesota politician charged with 'head-butting,' punching wife


A former city councilman from Cottage Grove has been charged with domestic assault, months after a failed re-election bid and a reckless driving arrest last fall.

The criminal complaint against Derrick Lehrke says he head-butted his wife, Autumn Lehrke, while she was holding their infant child, and punched her in the face shortly thereafter, reports say.

Autumn Lehrke, a former Washington County Commissioner, released a statement saying she doesn't believe the facts in the criminal complaint are accurate, and she doesn't want the charges filed, the Pioneer Press says. Police reportedly found her with red eyes and a swollen face.

But the paper notes a victim's consent isn't needed to prosecute domestic violence cases, as victims are often afraid to cooperate.

Authorities declared the Lehrke's case a "high risk" for further violence, the South Washington County Bulletin reports.

Meanwhile, Lehrke's traffic case is still pending. According to the Star Tribune, he was arrested and charged with careless driving in July after a Cottage Grove police officer pulled him over for speeding – authorities said he was driving over 110 mph on Highway 61.

Months later, he lost his re-election campaign after serving only one term.

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