Police in Royal Oak, Michigan, were caught on video handcuffing an unruly autistic student at Royal Oak Middle School, and now, many are saying that the officers took it too far.
Last Thursday, police were called to the school because the 13-year-old student was being verbally and physically combative with staff members. When they arrived, officers attempted to reason with the boy, but those attempts proved unsuccessful.
“It was only after those attempts had failed and the student assaulted the firefighters that the officers entered and physically restrained the child,” said the police department in a statement.
The boy’s mother captured the incident on her cell phone camera before he was taken on a gurney to a local hospital. She has since posted the footage on social media, and now, the 40-second clip has been shared thousands of times.
“A scared, angry, frustrated, panic-stricken, yet seemingly in control very big for his age 13-year-old child turned into a caged animal and was treated to some extent by one or two of the officers as such,” wrote the obviously upset mother. “As a child with autism his reaction to threatening situations is to get extremely defensive and he physically resisted being taken out. That's where the video picks up for everyone asking what provoked the officers.”
Despite growing controversy around the incident, police say that the clip doesn’t tell the entire story and they believe that the officers didn’t use excessive force with the autistic boy.
“The officers and firefighters were very patient and in control to make every effort not to hurt the child,” the statement read. “Viewing the video without seeing what occurred before or after will leave someone with an incomplete understanding of what occurred.”
Reports say that there is currently a criminal investigation that’s being assisted by the Department of Human Services, but it is apparently unrelated to the video.