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DA: No charges to be issued against officer in death of Ty’Rese West

Ty'rese West, Tyrese West

MOUNT PLEASANT, WI — After 90 days, Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson said Mount Pleasant police sergeant Eric Giese will not face charges in the shooting death of 18-year-old Ty’Rese West.

The Racine Police Department handled the investigation with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin State Patrol.Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson’s written decision was released to the public Wednesday night.

Eric Giese
Eric Giese

“Sergeant Giese was trained and tried to use less lethal force, that did not work. Sergeant Giese was trained to disengage if possible and seek cover, that was not possible. Ultimately, the use of lethal force was the only alternative he had left to exercise,” Hanson wrote in her decision. “These are factors that I cannot ignore when evaluating Sergeant Giese’s response. 

For these reasons, no charges will be filed against Sergeant Giese in this case.”

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Matt Soens said officer-involved shootings are “extremely tragic.”

“The aftermath is difficult to navigate for the community and law enforcement alike. While the Racine County District Attorney’s decision brings some closure to this tragedy, we recognize that many people are grieving the loss of Tyrese West. We
offer our condolences to the West family and for all those who are mourning his loss.”

Giese is expected to return to work unrestricted.

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Matt Soens response

Racine Mayor Cory Mason issued a statement in advance of Hanson’s published decision.

“Our community is holding its breath as we wait today for the Racine County District Attorney to announce whether or not a Mount Pleasant police officer will face criminal charges for the death of Ty’Rese West,” Mason wrote. “Our community is hurting, and we continue to grieve the loss of this young man. I know that for Ty’Rese West’s family, no part of this process so far has provided closure or satisfaction. I want them to know that I see and hear their grief and the valid questions they are asking. I know that if this were my child, I too would be asking tough questions, and expecting satisfactory answers, transparency, and accountability.”

According to Mount Pleasant police, officers responded to the 2500 block of Racine Street for an unspecified incident just after 1:30 a.m. on June 15. According to information released by the Racine Police Department, Officer Eric Giese attempted to make contact with West over an unspecified incident.

At the time, authorities said West fled on a bicycle, but that the responding officer saw that West had been armed. Police did not say at the time what West was armed with, or what he did with the weapon police say he had.

Police said the incident escalated and that Giese was “forced to discharge” his firearm at West. Life-saving measures were rendered, however were not successful, police said. West died at the scene and the Racine County Medical Examiner was called to the area later that morning.

It wasn’t until seven days after the shooting that authorities identified the Mount Pleasant police officer involved in the shooting as Giese, a 12-year veteran of the Village of Mount Pleasant Police Department. Racine police said a handgun was recovered from the scene. Giese was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, per policy, a news release from the Racine Police Department stated.

According to a WISN-TV report, area resident and family friend Verdell Andrews said he went to the shooting scene after hearing news of the shooting come over his police scanner. “That boy is 5-foot-4, 120 pounds. He was pepper-sprayed, tased and shot five times,” Andrews said.

“He was a great kid. Sometimes people make mistakes but he had his whole life ahead of him to turn that around and they took that away from him. He didn’t get the chance,” friend Morgan Bebow said in a WTMJ report.

On June 28, Reese was laid to rest. According to a Journal Times report following the funeral, West’s family learned that the deceased had multiple gunshot wounds, including two to his head. The newspaper filed an open-records request for multiple forms of information related to the shooting, and were rejected by authorities, who cited the continuing investigation as the reason to withhold information.

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