A West Allis man accused of stabbing another man at a local tavern in May 2017 saw his case thrown out of a Racine County felony court Tuesday and was acquitted on the charges.
A man was stabbed in the arm May 29, 2017, inside the Cham-Tap Bar, 2511 Durand Ave. A criminal complaint filed by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office in June accused Nick Tobias, 45, of West Allis, of stabbing the man and it charged him with substantial battery.
Detectives with the Mount Pleasant Police Department reviewed the case in August after Racine County Eye obtained the video of the crime, which showed that Tobias left the room five minutes prior to the fight.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Tanck-Adams told the court Tuesday that the state wished to dismiss the case. She was covering for Attorney Christopher Steenrod, who was initially assigned to the case. Racine County Felony Court Judge Mark F. Nielsen asked why the state wanted to dismiss it.
“Mr. Steenrod indicates that Investigator Schauer (of the Mount Pleasant Police Department) conducted an additional investigation and determined that Mr. Tobias is not the defendant from the video,” Tanck-Adams told Nielsen.
“That seems to be an awfully darn good reason,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen honored the motion to dismiss the case and told Tobias he was released from bond.
Tobias wrongfully accused of felony
The video, which served as the basis for the charges filed by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office, showed Tobias leaving the smoking room in the back of the bar at 12:37 a.m., about five minutes before the fight.
Lt. Scott Geyer, of the Mount Pleasant Police Department, told Racine County Eye in August that several witnesses — a total of four were in the room when the fight started — were uncooperative during the investigation. But no one in the detective bureau had seen the video, only the patrol officers at the scene.
From the Department’s perspective, there was nothing unusual about the case that required further investigation by the detective bureau. They had a witness statement and the man’s description. But it was never referred to the detective bureau for further investigation, Geyer said.
That witness later retracted her testimony during the preliminary hearing.
After Racine County Eye obtained the video and sought comment from officers, the detective bureau re-opened the case. Mount Pleasant Police Chief Tim Zarzecki said he was glad the Racine County Eye contacted them about the video.
“When we were given more information, we re-opened the case,” Zarzecki said. “We were glad that we could then take the appropriate action.”
Tobias to seek civil suit against police
After Tobias’ case was dismissed, he was relieved.
But now, he still has to finish paying his attorney, David Saldana and needs to recover financially from all of the work he’s missed. He’s now out about $7,500. And much of that money was diverted away from paying for his children and their home, he said.
Tobias, who has a bipolar disorder, said that the case has also taken a toll on him mentally.
“It just seems like no matter how much you try to do right, someone is always trying to bring you down,” he said.
Tobias plans on seeking out an attorney to start a civil case against the Mount Pleasant Police Department for not properly investigating the case, he says.
“We need to make Mount Pleasant liable… just like us as citizens we are liable for our actions. Mount Pleasant needs to be liable for their actions and causing me to go through all of this trauma,” he said.
He wants to see the Mount Pleasant Police Department be held to a higher standard and to be accountable for their actions.
“If they did their job, none of this would have ever happened,” Tobias said.