CALEDONIA, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin police officer who shot and killed a man wielding a meat cleaver in August will not face criminal charges, the Racine County district attorney said Friday.
District Attorney Patricia Hanson said Caledonia Police Officer David Baird was within his right to use deadly force on Aug. 18 when Jared Roy Nelson hit him in the head with a meat cleaver, and then advanced on Baird and refused orders to drop the weapon.
The Racine Journal Times reports Baird has been on leave since the incident.
Nelson was allegedly squatting in a vacant home when relatives of the homeowner arrived. Nelson tried to flee, nearly hit two women with a vehicle, and hit Baird in the head when Baird tried to stop him.
Baird reported that Nelson continued advancing toward him with the meat cleaver. Baird fired five shots, three of which hit Nelson — killing him. Baird needed 23 stitches to his head.
Nelson does not have a criminal history, but, according to the district attorney’s report, numerous prior encounters with police “might indicate a decompensation in his (Nelson’s) mental health.”