Racine Investigators review paralyzed inmate case, determine officers did nothing wrong

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RACINE(WITI) -- Last week FOX6 News showed surveillance footage, much of it disturbing to watch, of a cell entry at the Kenosha County Detention Center that left Sean Bialas paralyzed.

Racine County investigators reviewed the case and determined the officers did nothing wrong -- it was an unfortunate accident.

Bialas' attorney wants the district attorney to review the case, something he says it not happening.

Last November, a tactical unit busts into a cell to remove Sean Bialas -- authorities say he threatened to harm himself and refused to sit in a restraint chair or put on a restraint vest.

The cell extraction would leave the 21-year-old paralyzed from the shoulders down.

"The fact that my client suffered such a significant injury, fractured a cervical vertebrae in his neck, with the force that would've been needed to do that, raises concern as to how this extraction was done," said Jonathon Safran, Bialas' attorney.

Last week, FOX6 News obtained a copy of the final report put together by Racine County investigators who were asked to investigate Kenosha County's actions. That report concluded 'there is no basis to believe that excessive force was utilized.'

Bialas' attorney says despite that ruling, he asked the Kenosha County District Attorney to review the case.

"I then received a letter from their office indicating nothing had been referred to them and that it didn't seem as though they were going to do anything," said Safran.

Safran argues that because this is an officer-involved incident, the DA shouldn't need law enforcement to refer charges in order for his office to investigate.

"in that type of case, one would expect and I think citizens expect and would want their district attorney to then review that case just by the mere fact law enforcement would be involved," Safran said.

Safran says even if officers did nothing wrong during the cell entry, he wants the DA to also review the treatment of Bialas after he repeatedly told officers he was paralyzed.

"It is disturbing to watch, you actually see him flop forward in the chair, they're not supporting his body," said Safran.

The Kenosha County District Attorney's Office did not return our message today.

Safran says it isn't clear what kind of action was taken to cause Bialas to become paralyzed -- but he believes it might have been from an officer coming down on Bialas' neck.

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7 comments

    • Kyle Arb

      Why even comment regarding this young mans unfortunate injuries at the hands of these thugs if all you can say is “He should have listened” or “Listen to authority?” This department has a reputation in our community for being abusive of their power physically, and having it covered up for them so they are free to continue abusing citizens. I was hospitalized by Deputy Terry Tifft jr., and their department made sure it was impossible for two attorneys in two separate court rooms to obtain the dash cam video footage, it was eventually deleted. If I was guilty as charged, they would have shown that footage since our tax dollars pay for it. Two + years later I still fight a judicial nightmare. For Terry’s assaultive behavior he was actually rewarded with a K-9 rather than reprimanded. I have no criminal history, and even served my country in Iraq, so don’t assume I am some dirt-bag. There is still no excuse for a debilitating injury that leaves someone near death and paralyzed from the shoulders down in the hands of corrections officers in America. It’s just a shame that they didn’t break your neck or the neck of someone you love so you see this so subjectively from that point of view since you obviously are incapable of an unbiased opinion. Last time I checked, a broken neck was not a justifiable punishment for insubordination. The citizens of this wonderful county deserve to be safe from criminality as well as the tyranny of the plauge of crooked officers that have recently flooded the department. Don;t get me wrong, there are alot of great police officers in the KCSD, but the bad apples spoil it for the whole bunch. I was so impressed with Kenosha Sherrif Larry Zarletti and Oliver Whetstone as a young boy, that I wanted to be a police officer for many years. Unlike “Grunt” and “Tell the Truth” down there, I am not ashamed to leave my name.

      • Robert Paulson

        Of course YOU feel comfortable leaving your name. Police aren’t going retaliate for your remarks. In the beginning of the video the guy simply says. Please comply, you could get hurt if we have to go in there. He refused, and he got hurt.

      • Kyle Arb

        Corrections officers still have a duty to not break vertebrae in your neck if they have to detain you. There are non lethal weapons like pepper spray and tasers, yet they insist on putting on full riot gear to to bum rush one skinny kid. There are so many things wrong with the way this was handled. The soldiers and marines in Iraq have to treat terrorist with more care than police and corrections officers here. It’s a shame how people with a badge get away with every incident that occurs.

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