BEMIDJI, Minn. – The man was on a rampage — naked, 300 pounds, tearing a door off its hinges and screaming deliriously into the night. When Beltrami County sheriff’s deputies and Bemidji police finally cornered him, he refused their commands, and it took multiple Taser shots to finally jolt him into a snowdrift.
Working in near-zero temperatures to stabilize the man, they knew there would be no good outcome for another person suffering a mental breakdown in a community where emergency psychiatric care is scarce. After doctors assessed him at a hospital emergency room, he was booked into the Beltrami County jail.
“Another case of criminalizing the mentally ill,” said Sheriff Phil Hodapp. “And we have to put that man in the jail because there’s no other place for him to recover.”
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