A 17-year-old boy who has Asperger’s syndrome was hospitalized on Monday after an encounter with three transit officers in St. Paul, Minnesota, KARE-TV reported.
Footage of the incident shows Marcus Abrams on the floor in handcuffs as officers stand over him. The person filming the encounter can be heard saying, “That man was just having a seizure.” Abrams and his mother, Maria Caldwell, later said he suffered two seizures.
“One had their whole body on my whole face, and I couldn’t breathe,” said Abrams, who wears specially-magnified eyeglasses because he is legally blind.
According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Abrams and two friends were on their way home from working at the Minnesota State Fair when two officers, identified as Peter Buzicky and Richard Wegner, spotted him briefly standing on the tracks at a local train station. One of Abrams’ friends said he was only on the tracks for seconds before stepping off of them.
The officers then approached Abrams and asked for his identification. Police said that Wegner then ordered him to put his hands behind his back. When he refused, Wegner grabbed his wrist and tried to pull it behind his back. When the teen backed up, Wegner grabbed him by the vest.
“He was able to cock his left hand by his left ear while looking right at me telling me not to touch him,” Wegner wrote in his report. Caldwell told the newspaper that her son’s condition, along with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and “touch-sensory issues,” makes him extremely sensitive regarding his personal space.
Wegner stated in his report that he then used a “leg sweep takedown” to drop Abrams to the floor, before placing him in a “neck restraint” when the teen allegedly tried to hit and kick him and Buzicky.
Abrams was hospitalized, but not charged after his mother confirmed his condition. The case is currently being reviewed, but Caldwell said it demonstrated the need for officers to be better-prepared for these types of encounters.
“Why aren’t these cops, in some way, trained to deal with the autistic, the disabled, the mentally-challenged?” she asked.
Watch KARE’s report below.
[h/t The Free Thought Project]
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