A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5,000 to defend a teen beaten by police during a mental health crisis against charges stemming from the incident.
As we reported Wednesday, a 17-year-old West student appeared to be in a mental health crisis, and police worked with Journey Mental Health to take the young man into protective custody and get him to a treatment facility. Home security video shows police slamming him into a wall, wrestling him to the floor and punching him repeatedly in the face or head after a hood had been placed over his face.
The redacted police report does not indicate that he had committed any crime before police initiated the physical confrontation; rather, officer Andrew Slawek wrote that he initiated physical contact after the teen was using aggressive language and Slawek noticed the teen’s “hands were tensing up.”
The police report recommends charges of spitting at police and resisting arrest, which is a felony. Files have not yet been filed, but some community members want the teen, who at 17 would be charged as an adult, to be ready in case they are. Police say reports have been turned over to the district attorney’s office.
A GoFundMe campaign, organized by a family friend and spokesperson Brandi Grayson, is now taking donations to build up the teen’s legal trust fund, which his attorneys will use in any criminal defense that’s necessary.
The GoFundMe page says the law firm of Strang and Bradley has been retained, and that all donations will go into a trust fund through the law firm to pay any legal bills incurred in his defense, if charges are filed.
If charges are not filed, or if there is money left in the trust at the conclusion of the case, the money will “be placed in the community support services funds to be used to support similar needs of families in Madison.”
Grayson declined to say whether the family will seek legal action against the City of Madison or Madison Police Department, but was clear that this GoFundMe campaign is intended only to support the young man’s criminal defense.