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Society

Alaska Police Pepper Spray Autistic Man (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A judge ordered the city of Kodiak, Alaska, to release a police body cam video (below) on Dec. 31, 2015, which shows officers manhandling and pepper spraying Nick Pletnikoff, a 29-year-old autistic man, on Sept. 16, 2015.

The Kodiak Police Department refused to release the video for months under the claim it was trying to protect the man's identity, but Nick's mother Judy has been publicizing the incident, notes KTVA.

Judy said police officers traumatized Nick, who was not arrested or charged.

The incident began when Nick went outside their home to check the mail, and looked into and/or tried get into a car. The car reportedly belonged to some tourists, who called police. Judy says Nick sometimes gets into neighborhood cars that are open, but never takes anything, reports KTVA.

In the video, the police bend Nick over a car and take him down while he pleads to go home. In response, the cops yelled, "Stop resisting!"

Sgt. Francis De La Fuente had his arm and hand on Nick's jaw and throat while ordering him to turn over on his stomach.

De La Fuente held pepper spray in front of Nick's face and warned, “I’ll spray you!"

A few seconds later, the officer sprays Nick in the face with the pepper spray.

According to police report, Officer Phillip Christman realized Nick had “special needs” while the cops struggled with him, but Christman never said anything.

The City of Kodiak insists that an independent investigator found the officers acted “professionally," but the identity of the independent investigator was not revealed.

The Kodiak Police Department said in statement in September the officer's actions were “minimal and necessary under the circumstances in order to maintain officer and community safety,” reported KTOO.

The police did not say exactly how Nick was a threat to anyone's safety.

Nick was bloodied and bruised after the incident, but Kodiak Chief of Police Ronda Wallace’s office referred to the incident as “Suspicious circumstances, all OK” on the daily police blotter.

Judy said her family hired an autism specialist to work with Nick and help him recover from the incident. She told KTOO he has trouble sleeping and no longer trusts people in uniform.

Sources: KTVA, KTOO / Photo credit: Kodiak Police Department Screenshot