Green Bay man accused of punching nurse is charged under new state law
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A man is in the Brown County Jail accused of assaulting a health care worker as they were treating him.
Timothy Bereta, 31, is charged with battery to emergency medical care provider and disorderly conduct. He has an enhancement to both charges stating that he’s a repeat-offender, according to court records.
“The defendant was on supervision, on probation for a violent felony, when he committed this alleged offense. And he also has a history of bail jumpings. I see one recent conviction,” Ryan Spaude with the Brown County District Attorney’s Office said.
Investigators say officers were called to St. Mary’s Hospital Friday at 8:48 a.m. for a man in the emergency room acting aggressive and physical with staff.
Bereta reportedly punched a nurse in one the right side of her face and was quickly subdued by security who stopped him before he punched her again. Prior to that assault, investigators say Bereta was “hitting himself in the head.”
Bereta was brought into the hospital by an ambulance and the nurse was treating him at the time, according to court records.
The charge of battery to emergency medical care providers is a new criminal law that Wisconsin lawmakers passed this year and Governor Tony Evers, D, signed into law back in March.
If a person is charged under that law, assaulting a healthcare worker is considered a felony. Bereta faces a maximum of six years in prison.
“We don’t want to persecute or have patients arrested. Many times the patients that are fighting or causing harm are not in the right mental state,” SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin President Pat Raes told Action 2 News. “Those aren’t the people that we want prosecuted. It’s the people that choose to attack.”
SEIU, Service Employees International Union, is a labor union that represents front-line healthcare workers across the United States.
According to court records, police eventually handcuffed Bereta to the hospital bed to prevent any further violence.
Prevea Health and HSHS Wisconsin released a statement to Action 2 News on the incident, saying:
HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center does not comment on patient or legal matters. The health and safety of all who come through our doors are our top priority, including our colleagues and providers who every day go above and beyond to care for our patients. We fully support our colleagues and providers, and the state law that protects them from threats and acts of violence.
A court set a $1,000 cash bond for Bereta.
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