Leo M. Bessner

Appointed May 8,1940
Died May 12, 1958
Leo M. Bessner, 47, a Minneapolis patrolman 18 years, died of a heart attack at 1:30 a.m. on May 12, 1958 after engaging in a vigorous struggle with a motorist who resisted him and Patrolman George Dols.

Deputy Inspector William Joyce said both officers were exhausted and that Dols was bleeding from face injuries when he (Joyce) arrived in response to calls for aid on 13th Ave. S. between 3rd and 4th Streets.

Joyce and the other officers had handcuffed the motorist, Larry J. Crabtree, 20, 9200 James Ave. S., Bloomington, and had him on the ground.

As a patrol wagon came on the scene to take Crabtree to jail, Bessner collapsed.

Dols said they had observed Crabtree driving carelessly and had stopped him on Washington Ave. S. near Thirteenth. He said Crabtree had no license. The officers made a check to headquarters by radio and learned that Crabtree’s license had been revoked. Crabtree was put into the backseat of the patrol car.

Suddenly, Crabtree bolted from the car, Dols said, and ran onto 13th Ave. with both officers in pursuit. Dols said he was caught after a block chase and that he put up a vigorous fight against arrest.

Crabtree was quoted as saying he resisted arrest because his license had been revoked and he had been drinking.

It was only a year earlier that Patrolman Bessner, a former amateur boxer, was involved in a similar fracas with Del Flanagan, St. Paul welterweight prize fighter. Flanagan hit Bessner twice and Bessner felled him with his nightstick. Flanagan was given a 90 day workhouse sentence for disorderly conduct.

Bessner lived at 616 Newton Ave. N. According to police records he previously had a minor heart attack.

No additional charges were filed against Crabtree pending further investigation of the case.

Services for Leo Bessner were held at Hodroff North Chapel with burial at the United Hebrew Brotherhood Cemetery.

Bessner was survived by his wife, Frieda, two sons, two brothers, three sisters and a grandson.