Orlando, Fl. The DeLand Police Department has reviewed the handcuffing of a 12-year-old autistic student, and ruled it within protocol, though the officer was punished for other actions.
Last month, Danielle Torres’ son A.J. experienced a mental health crisis at DeLand Middle School. According to the police report, he was aggressive toward others and battered multiple staff members. He also allegedly tried to leave campus and run into the street. Body camera footage shows the moments the school resource officer approached the boy.
After a brief tussle, the body camera of the officer fell off. The rest of the exchange can only be heard from that point. The next visual update comes minutes later when the boy is seen in an office where those in attendance attempt to calm him down. The behavior displayed by A.J. is common, according to his mother.
“He suffers from elopement which is running, so he runs from his problems. He is autistic. He has DMDD, which is disruptive mood [dysregulation] disorder.”
It was also determined that the officer made insensitive and unprofessional comments to the student contrary to his training. The officer was issued formal discipline in the form of a written reprimand. Proper progressive disciplinary procedures were followed including the officer being required to be re-trained on de-escalation techniques to meet our standards.
The DeLand Police Department has had positive communication with the mother of the juvenile, and she was assured the officer was reprimanded. “
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