A Racine police officer noted in their arrest report for a 23-year-old Racine man that changes to mental health laws are needed to better address the needs of residents suffering from mental illness.
According to online court records, the man was charged Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court with a single misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and remains in the Racine County Jail on a $100 cash bond. If convicted, he faces up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Racine County Eye is not naming the man.
The criminal complaint states officers were called at 2:57 a.m. Monday to a home in the 5200 block of Admiralty for a report of a male resident cutting himself with glass and armed with a steak knife. When police arrived, a female caregiver on-site told them the man broke light bulbs over his head and said he wanted to die.
Officers say the caregiver said the man grabbed a serrated steak knife and pressed it to his skin. The woman said the man he was going to make police shoot him. Fearing for her safety and that of others in the home, she called police.
Police arrived and said the man exited the home and said, “Go ahead and shoot me” and “You’re gonna have to shoot me” before going back inside the house, the complaint reads. Officers followed and saw the man cutting his arm with broken glass and noted the steak knife was about three feet away.
The man was taken into custody and transported to Wheaton Franciscan St. Mary’s for a psychological evaluation. Police say a representative from the county Human Services Department was called because the man said he was willing to be admitted, but when the HSD rep arrived, the man rescinded his statement and a Chapter 51 determination could not be completed.
HSD made several alternative treatment suggestions, but police say they couldn’t sign on because of the man’s violent nature and his wish to “commit suicide by cop.” Instead, they had to transport the man to the Racine County Jail, and deputies there were advised of the man’s suicidal nature.
In the final paragraph of the man’s complaint, the officer states, “While the actions displayed by (the man) were criminal, (the man) would be better served as a mental health consumer, by a Chapter 51. A look at the rules governing Chapter 51 needs to take place to better help persons like (the man).”
The defendant will next be in court on Dec. 18 for a pre-trial conference.
Racine County Eye will update this story after we speak to Human Services and the District Attorney.