Macomb, Illinois — A Macomb man wants answers from the Macomb Police Department after he says his brother was sent on a one-way ticket to Chicago by a police officer.
Tamara Walker serves as legal guardian of his brother Marshawn, 43, who suffers from schizophrenia.
"He's a teddy bear," Walker said.
He said police failed to alert the public when he first reported his brother missing.
Tamara said his brother went to the Macomb Police Department to find shelter on December 11.
Tamara didn't realize his brother was missing until three days later, so he went to police.
He said an officer who knew Marshawn bought him a one-way train ticket to Chicago.
"I'm like, 'why would you do that if you knew he is disabled?' Walker said. "Officer is like 'I didn't do it, another officer did it.'"
The Chicago Police Department called on December 22 after finding Marshawn on a neighborhood stoop.
Tamara said he drove to Chicago that night where he said he found his brother in bad shape.
"His feet were bad," Walker said. "I got pictures. His feet were just messed up. I took him to the ER. They said they couldn't do much. So I did that for seven days to get him walking properly."
Tamara said he just wants an apology.
"Just to get [police officers] the proper training and that this doesn't happen anymore."
However, Chief Curt Barker said this isn't the full story.
Barker said his investigation shows Marshawn came the police department December 11, requesting homeless services after he said he and his brother, Tamara, were in an argument.
Chief Barker said shelters in Macomb, Quincy, and Galesberg did not have space.
The officer, trained in crisis intervention and how to deal with people with people with mental disabilities, took action to keep Marshawn safe.
"Marshawn then requested the officer assist him getting to Chicago because he was familiar with the facilities and would not have a problem getting in there," Barker said.
Tamara wants to know why police didn't contact family.
Chief Barker said it's because there was no proof of guardianship.
He said if police had proof or Marshawn showed signs of being in danger, police would have taken him to the hospital immediately.
"He was completely aware of the date, time, surroundings," Chief Barker said. "Just like you and I talking now. That's how a lot of individuals with mental illness are. They will go for months with medicine. They are fully functional. They will go around town. They perform like you and I."
The Macomb Police Department has professional service funds to help people in need.
The taxpayer dollars are allocated from the general fund.
"In a one year's time, we purchased two tickets," Chief Barker said. "In this latest year, we've bought one and that's Marshawn."
Chief Barker said he has no intentions of stopping this service.
"There's not a lot of tickets being purchased," Barker explained. "A lot of people being placed on the train on a one way ticket to get them out of Macomb. That's not it. Our goal is to get them some place where they have the resources that we don't."
Barker said he was not aware of the original incident until January 7 because he was out of town.
He said he conducted his investigation immediately.
As for the officer who bought the ticket, Barker said he would not receive disciplinary action because his intentions were good.
The Democratic Women of McDonough County are standing by Tamara.
They want Chief Curt Barker to step down or be removed.
Organizer Heather McMeekan said she also wants the McDonough County State's Attorney to launch an investigation.
A news conference is planned Friday at noon at Macomb City Hall.
As far an apology, Chief Barker said that process began when a Macomb police officer went to Tamara's residence to enter Marshawn into the state's emergency database.
Chief Barker said his department will continue to help Marshawn now that he's back in Macomb.
He said he hopes this effort helps repair that relationship.
There is a way for you to avoid this from happening to you.
Illinois residents who are responsible for someone with a disability can enter them into the Secretary of State's Emergency Contact Database.
All a resident needs is an instruction permit or ID card to register.
Macomb police say this program helps authorities if they find loved ones who may need help.
Residents can register their loved one at CyberDriveIllinois.com.