A Thief River Falls man has been charged in Pennington County District Court after he allegedly held his girlfriend against her will, strangled her, and interfered with her attempt to call 911.
Matthew James Brang, 26, has been charged with felony kidnapping, felony domestic assault by strangulation, and gross misdemeanor interference with a 911 call.
He was arrested.
The woman had been strangled to the point that she was lifted off the ground and lost consciousness. She had also allegedly been dragged by her shoulders and arms and struck many times on her back and arms.
The complaint didn’t indicate whether the woman sought medical care.
The assault ended after the woman was able to text her sister, who then called the police.
The charges stemmed from a report to police Monday, July 11 at 9:11 p.m., according to the complaint. A woman reported her sister was hiding from Brang in a garage at Rivers Bend Apartments, 100 Barnick Rd.
The woman said Brang had just choked her sister, who is Brang’s girlfriend. A police sergeant, a police officer, and two sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene.
Around the time the first officer arrived, the woman got out of a car and ran toward him as fast as she could. She ran toward a fence, but Brang allegedly chased and grabbed her. “He put his hand over her mouth, so she couldn’t yell for the police and pinned her against the fence.” A Walmart employee, who happened to be on break at the time, witnessed Brang chasing the woman.
Upon arriving, the police officer allegedly observed Brang standing over the woman, “who was laying on the ground with her hands over her head trying to protect herself.” After seeing the officer, Brang walked away from her. When the officer said he wanted to speak with Brang, Brang allegedly repeatedly said he “didn’t do anything.” He said the couple had been arguing in their apartment, possibly about money.
Brang said he grabbed a blanket and the woman “freaked out” because a dress strap was pulled off of her. Brang said he never hit the woman, but the couple may have been wrestling. When asked what he meant, Brang said he didn’t remember. He eventually admitted to preventing the woman from leaving a room multiple times.
Brang said he choked her because she had been swinging at him. During his conversation with Brang, the officer noted that Brang was sweating profusely despite the cool temperatures.
The woman allegedly told the police sergeant that, while driving back from the casino, the couple argued about Brang taking $100 from the woman and lying about it.
Upon returning home, they continued to argue. She told him to be quiet since he was yelling and screaming in the apartment. After she told him to leave her alone and attempted to walk away, Brang allegedly grabbed her dress and ripped it. She walked away, but he grabbed her, held her down on a bed, punched the bed, and called her names.
The woman was able to get up; however, he believed she was reaching for her phone and pulled her arms. At some point, the woman was able to get up. “Brang thought she was reaching for her phone, so he pulled her arms and threatened to break her arms if she went for the phone again because he didn’t want her to call law enforcement.” Brang then allegedly threw the woman in various locations of the apartment, including throwing her into a bathroom, onto a couch, and onto a floor. He also dragged her by her shoulders and arms.
The woman said he continuously struck her arms. He also slapped her back and arms and pulled her hair. Brang threatened to break her hands and “told her that she couldn’t have her glasses or phone because she didn’t deserve them.” When the woman tried walking away again, Brang grabbed her from behind and began choking her to the point that she was lifted off of the ground and lost consciousness. Once she regained consciousness, the woman found she was laying on the floor.
Brang had moved the woman’s head toward a mirror, telling her to look at herself and telling her she looked disgusting. The woman later convinced Brang to go back to the car. They sat in the car, where the woman texted her sister for help. Brang allegedly accused her of sending a text message, but the woman denied sending a text and deleted it in order for him not to realize she had, in fact, texted her sister. He wanted the two of them to go back to their apartment, asking her what she would do for him once they returned. The first officer arrived around that time.