James Frederick Copeland
James Frederick Copeland

A Thief River Falls man faces multiple charges in Pennington County District Court after he allegedly broke into an apartment and assaulted two people Thursday.

James Frederick Copeland, 49, Thief River Falls, has been charged with felony first-degree burglary, felony first-degree criminal damage to property, misdemeanor domestic assault, and misdemeanor fifth-degree assault. He was arrested.

Copeland allegedly assaulted a Thief River Falls woman and a Grygla man. He allegedly kicked the woman at least twice in her right shoulder and upper right chest area. She suffered a large bruise on her right ankle, but it was unknown if that injury was a result of the assault or from a door falling on her. The woman also reported a hurt back. She planned to go to the Emergency Room the following day.

James Frederick Copeland
James Frederick Copeland

Two blood droplets were visible on her clothing, which was taken into evidence. It was believed the blood belonged to Copeland. Copeland allegedly punched the man multiple times in his head and choked him, according to the complaint. Marks were visible on his neck. He also suffered scratches on his face and a swollen spot on his forehead. The man said Copeland threatened to kill him.

However, the incident stopped when the man said they were friends. Upon going to Copeland’s home, police observed numerous areas of blood on his body and clothing. His clothing was taken as evidence. The incident was reported at 10:49 p.m. Thursday at an apartment at 601 13th St. W., according to the complaint.

Copeland had allegedly broken into the apartment occupied by the woman and man. Five hours earlier, Copeland had argued with the woman with whom he has a relationship. He initially refused to leave. Later, she asked the man to sit with her at the apartment.

Shortly before the incident, they heard someone knocking on the apartment door; however, they didn’t answer it. A short time later, someone knocked on the living room window. It then broke, and Copeland entered the apartment, running after the woman and kicking a bedroom door to gain entry.

The door landed on top of her. An officer, who knew about a previous incident involving the couple, observed an uneven mattress, blood on a blanket, and a door lying on the ground. Copeland allegedly told police that he and the woman were having relationship issues. He said he went to the apartment to speak with her and became upset when he saw the man’s vehicle outside.

Copeland allegedly admitted breaking the window with his arm and then crawling inside. He said he only wanted to talk to the woman and followed her to a bedroom, thinking she was the man.

Copeland denied assaulting the woman, saying he loves her. However, she pulled a taser on him. Copeland indicated that he planned to move into the apartment, but the woman had kicked him out. Copeland allegedly said he fought with the man after the man began assaulting him with a belt or belt buckle.


He initially told police that he had said nothing to the man; however, he later said he had yelled at the man. Copeland said the incident ended after the man said the two of them were friends.

The complaint indicated that Copeland had a blood alcohol content of 0.017. The woman told police that Copeland had been acting strangely at about 5:30 p.m. that day. They got into a heated argument with him asking her whether she was involved with someone else. The woman suffered a panic attack and kept asking Copeland to leave.

He followed her out of the apartment, and she informed him that she would call the police since she has a restraining order filed against him. Copeland told her to call the police since the order hadn’t yet been served on him.

At some point, Copeland grabbed an apartment door, and she grabbed a knife to protect herself. He picked up a chair and threatened to hit her. She dropped the knife and asked him to leave.

Two neighbors arrived, asking if things were OK. Copeland said he wanted to get his laundry and belongings out of the apartment. They offered to help, even calling a taxi to give him a ride elsewhere. However, no one answered the phone. Copeland eventually left and then returned about five hours later.