BODYCAM: Officer Detains Autistic Teen

In a lawsuit, the boy's family family alleges police do too little training on autistic spectrum disorder

By Calibre Press  |   Sep 20, 2017


Police body-camera footage shows a Buckeye police officer detaining a 14-year-old boy with autism after he became suspicious of the boy, who was practicing one of his calming techniques at the time.

The Buckeye Police Department has said they think the officer reacted to a reasonable suspicion, but the family’s attorney says there is insufficient training for officers to deal with people on the autism spectrum, something the boy’s family would like addressed.

The footage, which the family attorney posted on YouTube on Sunday, shows an officer exiting his vehicle to approach the boy near Verrado Town Square and ask him what he’s doing. The boy says he’s “stimming” and holds up a piece of string.

Stimming,” short for self-stimulating activity, is common among people with autism. Many say they use stimming activities to help calm their nerves.

The officer asks if the boy has an ID on him, the boy says no and turns to walk away.

When the boy turns to leave, the officer grabs the boy’s arms and holds them behind his back. The encounter resulted in the officer holding the boy down on the ground as the boy yells, “I’m OK.”

Officer David Grossman, who is trained in drug recognition, was the officer involved in the detainment, according to Buckeye police, which released the video Monday.

In his police report about the July 19 incident, Grossman said he believed the teen was using an inhalant drug.

“I observed some object in his right hand that he hit against his left palm and then immediately bring his hands up to his face in what appeared he was smelling something,” he said in the report.


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