190702_HOMELESS01 (copy)

Jeremiah Kemper sits near the city bike trail in Janesville’s Monterey Park in this July 1, 2019, photo. Police took possession of most of his belongings after he declined numerous offers of help and requests to leave the public area where he had been camping. Kemper was arrested Wednesday after people who were fishing nearby said he tried to enter their vehicle and raised a knife over his head.


A man whom police have been trying to remove from a Janesville park for several months was arrested Wednesday in an odd incident and is no longer there, police said.

Jeremiah K. Kemper, 34, was arrested at 1:25 a.m. Wednesday on charges of impersonating a police officer, threat to a judge, resisting/obstructing and disorderly conduct.

The report suggested Kemper might have been placed in a mental-health institution involuntarily, but police said they are not allowed to comment on that.

Police up to this point had said they could not commit Kemper because he did not appear to be a threat to himself or others. But Wednesday’s incident could have changed their minds.

The Gazette did not name Kemper in previous stories about him because he had not been charged with a felony.

A couple and a young girl were fishing near Wilson Elementary School in the park Wednesday when they saw Kemper pulling on the door handle of their vehicle, according to a police report.

The man approached Kemper, who raised a knife over his head and said several times that he was an “undercover cop,” according to the report.

When police arrived, Kemper walked away from them when he was told he was under arrest, according to the report.

On his way to jail, Kemper remarked that he would “have Judge Wood’s head on a platter,” apparently referring to a Rock County Court judge of that name, according to the report.

Kemper started camping on a sidewalk on Monterey Bridge in April before police persuaded him to move off the sidewalk. He continued to camp in the adjoining park.

Kemper refused to leave despite being ticketed numerous times for violating a city ordinance that bans camping in parks. He also declined numerous offers of help from police and from county social workers and local charities.

Police said Kemper has a source of income but would not use it to rent an apartment.

Kemper was given a court date of Aug. 19.