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Editor’s note: After our story ran about Joe Flowers, a man who has a mental illness, was put in jail when he caused a disturbance at a hospital, a number of his friends contacted us to share more of his story. On Sunday Joe jumped into Lake Michigan. To read what happened, click here.
But Joe is more than his mental illness, his friends say. He is also known as “Scooter Joe,” a man who is a regular at the skate park down at Pershing Park. One of his friends that was on the stunt team for the BMX division wanted to share more of his story in hopes that the community could understand some of the issues he’s had recently. He asked that his name not be used, but we have verified with the criminal complaints that the legal references are accurate.
And he was the kind of kid who was at the skatepark every day.
When I first started to hang out with Joe, I realized he was different than most kids that went to there. He did things on his scooter that I never even knew we’re possible. So after about a year later, I started to hang out with Joe more and more. We started traveling around to different skate parks all over… even out of stated as far as Cleveland, OH.
Joe went to Horlick High School and was on the dive team where he even went to State a few years. He was the kind of kid that did anything he set his mind and dedication to… he was awesome at it.
So when I started to get to know Joe on a personal level, I realized how hard it must have been for him to be so passionate about these sports because of where his background comes from. With not having a dad in his life, and his mom and older brother in and out of jail — I finally realized why Joe would spend all day everyday at the Skatepark. He didn’t want to go home. He considered all of his friends at the skatepark as his family.
He used to tell me how his mom would barely have food or couldn’t pay his rent. He didn’t live in a nice area. He constantly would have his bikes and scooter stolen. And on top of that, his mom had some severe mental illnesses of her own that has caused her to be in and out of jail and in hospitals.
From what I’m aware of she had a bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. So these are things that already run in Joe’s family. Joe is at the age where it will commonly show if you have the same symptoms. But back in 2012, Joe and myself were picked up on a stunt team called division BMX where we traveled all over the United States doing performances.
Joe was always a crowd pleaser because the stunt team was mainly bikes and he was the only kid on a scooter. At that time that’s when scooter rain was becoming the sport it is today so tons of little kids were always looking up to him, wanting to be like Joe. He’s always been a super nice, down to earth kid who seemed to have his head on his shoulders straight trying to stay away from the situations his family members were in and focusing on his hobbies that he was clearly good at.
After about one year of riding on the stunt team Joe made the mistake of going to a party with his older brother, which was more of the problem child and did some drugs being pressured by his brother and they committed a crime (robbery). Joe ended up sitting three years in prison without any incident.
Released last September, his main focus was to get out, get a CNC job because he had a certificate he earned in prison and get back on a scooter doing stunts again. Joe ended up getting a CNC job working third shift and did get back to riding in shows again performing on his scooter. But in February, Joe started having severe problems trying to fall asleep. He didn’t think anything of it, and continued working and riding his scooter. Then Joe started seeing things and hearing voices. Then about in mid-April Joe was still constantly having these issues and decided he needed to seek help.
So he admitted himself to a mental hospital in Green Bay where he sought treatment. He stayed there about a week and was released. I didn’t get much information on what they did there and what they did for him.
After Joe was released, he continued to ride his scooter. He decided to quit his job because he was trying to see if he would have less stress, then maybe he would be able to sleep. But Joe then fell back into that state of mind about the end of May. He couldn’t sleep and started hearing voices in his head tell him to do bad things. I spoke with Joe and he was telling me he was going nuts in the head and he didn’t know what to do about it.
I told him he needed to seek help and see if they can figure something out for him knowing he has mental illness in the family. That same day I talked to him and that night Joe got himself into trouble by walking down the street into traffic refusing to move. This caused someone to call the police, which someone should because he was doing something clearly dangerous and against the law. When the police arrived and tried to address the situation, Joe was unresponsive with a 1,000 yard stare on his face. When the police tried to remove him from the road, he got violent causing them to give Joe a disorderly conduct ticked and they take him to jail.
While Joe was in jail the first two weeks, he was a problem inmate causing floods and all types of other issues that are possible to be done in the jail. After being seen by mental health professionals in the jail, they decided — yes — something needed to be given to him for his mental illness. The jail started to give him medication for sleep and his symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar. After about a week or so of taking these medications, Joe started to come back to and was acting like a regular person in the jail, not causing any issues. He was just trying to see what he needed to do to get released.
Joe stated that he felt better than he had in a very long time and the medication clearly is what he’s been seeking to cope with his illness. Joe was released from the Racine County Jail June 28. Joe was relieved due to his medications being provided by the jail, but he needed to seek help immediately with a psychiatrist when he was released. But considering it was coming up on a holiday weekend when he tried to make appointments they couldn’t see him for over a week. Doctors and what not being on vacation.
Joe was released from Racine County Jail with no medication and nothing to help him cope with his mental illness. He thought maybe he would be OK to make it until he could see a doctor and he continued to go back to riding his scooter and decided to perform at Summerfest with the stunt team Division BMX.
Joe showed up three days in a row riding doing amazing tricks just like he always has. On the third day of riding I talked to him after the shows. He said he was already having panic attacks and felt like his mental illness was about to trigger and go off again. He was really scared and wasn’t sure what to do.
The next night at Summerfest I told Joe I would bring him a pair shoes because the pair he had was pretty beat up and I had a pair he could have so he wouldn’t hurt his feet. I went to Summerfest. I waited and waited, but Joe never showed up.
I started wondering where he was and then come that night the Racine County Sheriffs Department found Joe in Lake Michigan causing problems where he was brought to Wheaton Franciscan and got violent with staff and police officers. He was brought down to the jail once again. He has been in the jail and is already causing problems again like when he first came in and is unresponsive. He doesn’t act like he even knows what’s going on. It’s clear to me that Joe needs to be medicated with the medications that he was already prescribed. And he needs to be on them at all times because he will have panic attacks in any situations that happen and he will get himself into trouble.
Joe has always been a super nice person. He’s helpful and awesome to his fans.
I’ve never known Joe Flowers to have these issues the whole time I’ve grown up with him till this past year. I feel Joe needs some special help with the psychiatrist and mental health and doesn’t need to be in jail. Joe just needs to be pointed in the right direction with the right help he needs so he can go on and live his life.