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.
This is a perfect example of when two cultures (in this incident: The mental health culture and the law enforcement culture) collide, so to speak, but do not understand one another. It is quite common to train autistic children to run away from people who they think are going to hurt them. I’m glad the detaining officer finally realized that he had encountered an EDP and not a criminal. The problem here is that the police officer may not have had the training to recognize this teen as autistic. So, after the encounter and after his shift the officer goes home a little wiser. Always a good thing. However, the autistic teen may take days or weeks of counseling to simply come back down to his baseline state of emotional calmness (hence, the “stimming” technique that is taught to those who can successfully use it to harness in bad or distressing feelings). No criticisms here. Everyone learned something.
That’s not how the family of the teen sees it. They are suing the dept. and the officer. So plenty of critisisms from them. Let’s face it, that officer is a POS, and anyone who supports him is also worthy of that descriptor. Add incompetence, on officer’s part to the mix. First , as he is trained drug recognition expert and a trainer, he completly f’ed when he misidentified an action by the teen as inhalant use. So either he sucks at this task, or quality of his training is low, or trained techniques are of low accuracy. Either one singulary, or all three in combination, is indicative of the sad state of municipal law enforcement in US today.
The escalation to physical assault, by LEO on teen, was entirely dictated by officer. Poor kid made no threatening moves. All violence, all force, in that citizen contact was on part of the cop. He did not realize, on his own, that the teen was , a minor, with autism spectrum disorder. He was told , by teen’s aunt, when she arrived on the scene. Only then, with witness present, did the officer deescalate. If she had not, he probably would have injured the kid. This officer is a POS, he is a threat to the public, and sadly he is in plenty of company. Such is the sad state of municipal law enforcement in US today.
Anyone who has read your posts, Dmitri, knows how much you dislike LEOs. That’s your shtick. I agree that the officer made a mistake. That does not discredit all of the other good work he may have done. Though to you all LEOs are brutal, not well trained, pieces of sh*t, blah, blah. If you’re not willing to be part of the solution you should keep your sophomoric insults to yourself. However, I don’t see that happening. Your ego is too big, your anger is too great, and your ability to stay off the keyboard of your computer obviously cannot be overcome.
The word is contempt, not dislike. Contempt. Sadly, it is earned, fair and square.
I’m sorry but I do not see a mistake. Are we supposed to train our law enforcement Personnel to always assume the best in everyone? Officers are trained for survival and criminals train to overcome the Officers Training. Anyone can pretend to be anything and telling police officers that they must assume the best in everyone they see will only lead to many more officers being hurt or killed on the job. Perhaps emotionally disturbed persons should be escorted in public to prevent such misconceptions from occurring, I don’t know but telling the police over and over when they make a mistake that they’re pieces of shit or stupid is no solution and telling them to walk around with a pie-in-the-sky attitude will only result in the police not doing what we pay them to do which is to suppress crime, be suspicious, investigate, and respond on our behalf. Anyone encountering a person behaving the way this individual was behaving would be suspecting something is not right. What most of us fail to realize is that is not our Duty or our job to delve deeper into the situation, we would just avoid and go about our business. The police can’t do that and be effective. And as for the haters of law enforcement like Dimitri below, their opinions are less relevant to me because they are demonstrating a form of bigotry where they predetermined the motivations and ethics of an individual based solely on the uniform he is wearing. How ironic then that the same people castigate the police for coming to conclusions based on what they see!