ACLU of Wisconsin seeks more information in officer-involved shooting in Racine

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Rajko_Utvic

Rajko Utvic. - PHOTO: Courtesy

A letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin to Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling seeks more information in the death of a mentally ill man shot and killed by Racine police on July 6.

A letter from Racine County District Attorney W. Richard Chiapete has commended the city of Racine Police Department and thanked the sheriff's office for the handling of the investigation into the death of 37-year-old Rajko Utvic.

The determination was that Utvic "bears total culpability for this deadly force confrontation." Chiapete wrote in his finding, “Mr. Utvic left officers with no other alternatives.”

ACLU of Wisconsin executive director Chris Ahmuty said the organization wants to know more. “The ACLU of Wisconsin believes the public deserves to know more before putting all the blame on an individual suffering from mental illness,” Ahmuty said in a news release. “District Attorney Chiapete’s letter to Racine Police Chief Howell does not sufficiently address this incident."

Ahmuty wants to know whether any of the officers on the scene had undergone crisis intervention training? And asked, why didn’t the officers just step back to deescalate the situation?

In his letter to the sheriff, Ahmuty asked for a copy of the office's report, which under state law must be released to the district attorney.

The Wisconsin Legislature in April adopted a law requiring that an independent investigator lead an investigation into officer-involved deaths.

The new law follows a number of officer-involved deaths in Wisconsin, including deaths in Kenosha, Madison and Milwaukee, according to the ACLU.