NOTE: We hope this poor young man is OK. Autism has many variations, versions and vagaries. The epidemic denialists and neurodiversity whitewashers would have you believe autism is simply a Swiss army knife of unique skills for life and not different from eye color or even race. It's "just" a brain difference. We beg to differ. At all points on the spectrum, our loved ones with autism are in danger. The answer is treatment and maybe even prevention, of course, for the future. But for those here, whom we love and adore? The answer is education. These police officers mistook stimming for a dangerous move. And it's not a stretch to understand how that could happen. If police tell someone to "freeze" and he keeps moving, he is in mortal peril. Law enforcement doesn't have the luxury of perusing the DSM V for the traits of autism. That said, a bit of empathy and kindness and human thought could have prevented this awful event. Educate the police. Educate the public as to the real life traits of autism - the bad and the ugly along with the good. Otherwise the Buckeye Arizona teen will always have a bulls eye his back. And so will our children and friends with autism. KR
From NBC 4 Arizona
Police in Buckeye, Arizona, have released body camera footage of an officer detaining a teen boy with autism who he believed to be doing drugs.
The footage, taken the afternoon of July 19, 2017, shows Officer Grossman with the Buckeye Police Department go to the ground with Connor Leibel, 14. The news release does not give Officer Grossman's first name.
At one point, you can hear Connor tell Grossman "I'm stimming," which is a common technique used by people with autism. The officer didn't understand the word and didn't recognize the boy had autism.
He asks Connor for identification, but the teen says he doesn't have any ID and begins to walk away.
The boy screams when the officer puts his hands on him and they fall to the ground. He also shouts multiple times, "I'm OK!"
The incident started when Officer Grossman saw the teen alone in a park.
The release said the boy was "moving his hand to his face in a manner consistent with inhaling, and then [Grossman] observed the teenager's body react accordingly after that movement."
The officer approached the boy and asked what he was doing, but the teen walked away. That's when the officer "lawfully detained the teenager, causing both of them to fall to the ground," according to the release.