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.
Alan Gionet at KCNC-TV Denver:
The mother of a now 12-year-old boy with autism is suing the Douglas County School District, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and School Resource Officers involved in taking her son into custody in 2019. The lawsuit, filed with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, claims the school district and sheriff’s office failed to adequately train and supervise SROs [school resource officers]
The lawsuit alleges the boy’s 4th Amendment right of unreasonable seizure was violated when he was handcuffed at school and placed in a sheriff’s office SUV where he remained for hours before being taken to a juvenile facility. The boy allegedly banged his head repeatedly inside the vehicle.
His mother, Michelle Hansen says she had to move the boy, named A.V. in the lawsuit, to another school.
“Very scared of police officers in uniform, when he sees one he shakes. Like trembles. It’s really heartbreaking,” she said.
Body camera video released along with the lawsuit shows part of the interaction.
“I’m shocked at how much they were touching him, his arms and grabbing him, and his neck,” says Hansen.
As a child with autism at the age of 11, A.V. was in a classroom at Sagewood Middle School when the suit claims another child wrote on him with a marker setting him off. It states he stabbed the other child with a pencil.