In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between police and autistic people. Police officers need training to respond appropriately. When they do not, things get out of hand.
Michael Gordon at The Charlotte Observer:
The video from former Statesville Police Officer Michael Fattaleh’s body camera shows him rushing across a classroom toward two women who are sitting with a small boy.
“OK, I’ve got him. He’s mine now,” Fattaleh says. He takes the 7-year-old, autistic child from the women, handcuffs the boy’s arms behind his back and presses him to the floor.
According to the video of the Sept. 11, 2018, incident, the student remains in that position for the next 38 minutes. Sometimes he sits quietly. Other times he sobs in apparent pain or pleads for Fattaleh to let him go.
“I’ve got all day, dude,” the officer says early in the encounter. “... If you are not acquainted with the juvenile justice system, you will be shortly.”
The boy’s crime? According to a new lawsuit filed by the child’s mother, identified as A.G., Fattaleh says he saw the special needs student spitting in a “quiet room” at the Pressly Alternative School in Statesville.
The officer repeatedly pledged to charge the boy with assault later that day, telling the boy’s mother the child had become combative, punching and kicking, behavior that is not apparent during the video. It remains unclear whether the charges were ever filed.