The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said a Wauwatosa police officer acted in self-defense after shooting and injuring a woman who used a sturdy wooden stake to hit the officer’s cruiser.
Tinesha Jarrett, who had left a nearby mental health complex hours before the shooting, also cracked the windshield of Wauwatosa Police Officer Amanda Hodgson’s police car after Hodgson responded to a woman’s call to “violently attack female victim with a stick”.
Jarrett, 35, also refused to let go of the stake and walked towards the officer, banging the driver’s side door with the stake in the incident, which occurred in the Wauwatosa village area on December 10, 2020.
In a letter, Kent Lovern, deputy chief prosecutor for Milwaukee County, said Hodgson “had not acted contrary to criminal laws in the circumstances of this incident.”
“In assessing the legal privilege of self-defense, Hodgson had a real subjective belief that potentially lethal force was necessary in the circumstances,” the letter said.
The Milwaukee Area Investigation Team, led by the West Allis Police Department, investigated the incident. They completed the investigation on December 8.
How the shooting unfolded
At around 9:15 p.m. that evening, a call arrived at the Wauwatosa Police Department regarding a person being assaulted by Jarrett, who was wearing hospital clothes at the time. This assault took place in the lobby of a building near Underwood and Harwood avenues.
Jarrett grabbed an orange snowplow stick and “repeatedly hit” the person with it, causing head and arm injuries.
Jarrett had left the Milwaukee County Health Complex hours before the incident, after showing signs of a mental health crisis.
At 9:20 p.m., Hodgson answered the call and saw Jarrett walking near 1422 Underwood Avenue. She still carried the plow stick as well as a lawn ornament attached to a “solid wood stake” about three and a half feet long.
The stake also had a sharp end, according to a summary of the incident from the West Allis Police Department.
As Hodgson pulled his patrol car near Jarrett, Jarrett started hitting the car with the stake. Hodgson called for reinforcements and then got out of his vehicle.
“Hodgson repeatedly ordered Jarrett to drop the stake. Jarrett refused to do so and repeatedly yelled at Hodgson to shoot him,” the summary said.
Jarrett also swung the stake and hit the driver’s side door of the police car, which was between the two of them.
It was then that Hodgson fired his gun three times, hitting Jarrett in the chest.
Jarrett continued to scream and approached the police car again. Another policeman from Wauwatosa then deployed his Taser to Jarrett.
“The taser did not subdue Jarrett and she was eventually brought under control after struggling with several officers, who immediately sought medical attention for her,” the letter said.
Jarrett was taken to the nearby Froedtert hospital where she was treated. She was not charged with a felony in the incident.