A mental health advocate has pleaded guilty to assault, following an altercation with Chaska police officers in October 2017.
Noah McCourt of Waconia, was sentenced to five years supervised probation on Aug. 31 after he pleaded guilty to assault in the fourth degree, a felony, in Carver County District Court, according to court records. If McCourt successfully completes his probation, the conviction will be a misdemeanor, according to court documents.
McCourt, who said he is diagnosed with high-functioning autism, was reportedly suicidal and was tackled to the ground by a police officer on the State Recreation Trail, just across the Minnesota River from Chaska in Scott County in October. McCourt claimed he was undergoing an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder preceding and during the incident.
He was publicly critical of the police following the incident, stating that it highlights issues the department has when responding to those with mental health crises.
Three other charges, including threats of violence, a second charge of fourth-degree assault and third-degree damage to property were dismissed, according to court records.
McCourt, a former Waconia City Council candidate, is a member of the board of directors of the Minnesota Association on Children’s Mental Health; serves on the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities; and chairs the subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health.
In an interview, he said he pleaded guilty because it is hard to fight those charges in court.
“This was about discrimination on someone who is high functioning. It’s really hard to fight that in court,” he said. “It’s one thing to fight that in an election, it’s another thing to fight court.”