State Street

A UW-Madison student was arrested Friday morning and faces tentative charges of trespassing and resisting and officer.

A UW-Madison student who was possibly suffering from a mental health or substance abuse crisis was restrained and arrested on tentative charges of trespassing and resisting or obstructing an officer Friday morning on State Street near the university's campus, police said. 

Police first made contact with Nehemiah Siyoum, 22, shortly before 8 a.m. when staff at a coffee shop on the 600 block of State Street called police for a man playing loud music, disturbing other patrons and refusing to leave, Lt. Brian Austin said in a statement to UW-Madison officials that was shared with the State Journal.

UW spokesman John Lucas confirmed Siyoum is a student.

Officers that arrived at the coffee shop heard "profane music at a volume that made officers first think it was from the coffee shop's amplification system," Austin said.

Siyoum refused to identify himself but eventually left the business without incident and police left, Austin said.

Shortly before 10 a.m., a business on the 500 block of State Street then reported Siyoum playing loud music, yelling and refusing to leave when asked, Austin said.

Siyoum walked down State Street while officers followed him for two blocks calling for him to cooperate, Austin said, and when he continued to refuse, officers told him they would put him in handcuffs.

Officers said Siyoum was behaving oddly and made nonsensical statements, Austin said.

Siyoum resisted when officers made physical contact on the 700 block of State Street, and officers put him in "kick stop" restraints, Austin said, which limit leg movement to prevent a person from kicking officers. In the restraints, a strap around a person's ankles is connected to a strap placed around his or her waist, which keeps the knees bent.

Officers transported Siyoum to Dane County Jail without any injury to him or others involved, Austin said. 

Austin said officers tried to establish a dialog throughout the process. 

"This was done in a coordinated and extremely deliberate manner, again resulting in no injury to any of the involved parties," Austin said. 

Officers involved said they believe Siyoum could be suffering from mental health issues, substance abuse or both, Austin said, and officers learned his family also believes he could be experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.

Mental health officers will follow up with Siyoum, Austin said, and will provide connections with possible services.

Some options available to people experiencing a crisis are voluntary admission to an inpatient mental health or substance abuse unit in a hospital and outpatient services or programs.

In extreme cases, inmates are involuntary transferred to Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh for emergency detention. 

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

Subscribe to our Politics email!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.