New York Police Department (NYPD) officers have been accused of attacking an autistic teenager, slamming his head in to a concrete sidewalk, before releasing him without charge, according to a lawsuit.
Troy Canales, then 17, was outside his home last November when officers approached him and asked what he was doing.
“[Canales] was extremely scared, but told the officers that he was just ‘chilling’ and was not doing anything,” said the lawsuit, reported by the New York Post.
“[The officers] each grabbed plaintiff’s arms and forcefully threw him down on the sidewalk, smashing his head against the concrete. [The officers] kneed plaintiff in the back and punched him in the face as he screamed to his family for help,” the suit continued.
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Officers ignored explanations from family members that Canales was autistic, and instead took him in to custody.
After the teenager’s mother secured his release an hour later, the police refused to give any reason for there behavior. Canales was never charged with committing any offense.
According to the lawsuit, one of the officers involved claimed that he “feared for his life” when speaking to Canales.
“Canales now is afraid to go outside and becomes extremely anxious at the sight of a police car,” the suit added, according to Inquisitr. “He makes efforts to avoid cops when he sees them, increasing the likelihood of another encounter with them due to movements that could be construed as suspicious.”
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The document is calling on the police to improve its training for officers on how they should deal with people with autism.
“The New York City Police Department’s practices, procedures, training and rules, including those in the NYPD Patrol Guide, do not account for, instruct on, delineate, or provide guidelines for police officer communication and interaction with people with developmental disabilities and autism in a constitutionally adequate manner,” wrote lawyer Carmen Giordano in the suit.
The City is considering its response, with a Law Department spokesman telling the Post that the suit is under review.