Police Chief Accused of Striking Autistic Boy on Leave

Earlier this week, I told you about Eli Kolodie, an 8-year-old autistic boy who ran away from school and whose mother Kristen says was struck twice with a baton by Jonesville Village Police Chief Brian Corbett.  Corbett is on paid administrative leave while the Michigan State Police investigate the incident.

Kristen Kolodie hopes that this will be an opportunity for learning:

“My intent is not, nor has it ever been, to have Chief Corbett removed from the department permanently,” Kolodie said. “However, I’m hoping by taking this small step, the Village of Jonesville is taking this situation seriously and accepting responsibility for the officer’s actions. I feel that when a person makes a mistake, they often learn from it and may be able to go forward and have more empathy, understanding and knowledge than a person that did not make the error in the first place.”

“My goal has been, and continues to be, to get the Village of Jonesville (and the) HCISD to see and admit that obvious errors were made in their actions and establish new policies and procedures that will assure that no child is treated this way,” Kolodie continued.


Mother Says Police Struck Autistic Boy With Baton

Police struck Eli Kolodie twice with a baton after he ran away from school.

Kristen Kolodie says the Jonesville, Michigan, chief of police struck her eight-year-old autistic son twice with a baton after the boy ran away from school:

"His exact words were, 'I dragged him by his arms and stuffed him in the backseat of the car,'" Kristen says, as she recounts her conversation Wednesday with the police chief.

"He kept kicking the back seat of the cop car, so the police officer, the chief of police, opened the car door, whacked him on his ankles with his baton .... He had not calmed down, so the police officer opened the car door again and whacked him on his shin," Kristen says.

After he calmed down, Eli was led back into the school -- in handcuffs.

The police chief says he would have handled the situation differently if he had known Eli was autistic.  Kristin is angry with the Hillsdale County Intermediate School District for failing to tell him that and for failing to intervene as the situation escalated:

"They're the experts," Kolodie said. "They're the ones that we trusted our son with. And even when police arrived, they should've stood up. They should've done something."

She told school officials she wants additional training for staff, and wants any 911 caller from the school to specify if the child has development delays. She also asked school officials to install a fence around the playground.


British Police Assaulted Autistic Teen

I missed this when it happened a couple of weeks ago, but it's an important story.

A judge has ruled that police officers assaulted an autistic 16-year-old by forcibly restraining him during a school trip to a London swimming pool.  The teenager, known as ZH, jumped into the pool fully clothed:

ZH was moved to the shallow end and lifted out by lifeguards, with two police officers taking hold of his arms before handcuffs and leg restraints were applied.

Soaking wet, agitated and distressed, he was placed alone in a cage in the rear of a police van until calmed by carers and allowed to leave with them.

ZH has been awarded over 28,000 pounds in damages.  The police commissioner refuses to apologize and is trying to appeal the decision.


Police Cuff Autistic Teen After Panic Attack

Teen with autism handcuffed, detained: woodtv.com

An autistic 19-year-old man was taken into police custody after he had a panic attack while entering the Grand Rapids courthouse:

John Bessinger took his son, Johnathan, to the courthouse downtown Grand Rapids for a guardianship hearing Wednesday. Before they could make it past the metal detectors, Johnathan began to have a panic attack, his father said.

As the 19-year-old went in, a deputy felt threatened and reacted, according to Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess. Hess said a gesture from Johnathan made the deputy fear for his safety.

"The one sheriff put his arm against him and threw him down," Bessinger said. "The other two got on and piled on top of him -- knee to the back, put his arms to his back and handcuffed him."


Autistic Teen Faces Felony Charges for Assaulting Police with Nail Clippers

An autistic teenager from Michigan, faces felony charges for lashing out at police officers after being restrained:

Zachary Maxson, 17, faces two counts of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a police officer causing injury and one charge of domestic violence, a misdemeanor, in connection with the Feb. 9 incident.

His lawyer said Maxson, who could be sentenced to up to four years in prison if he's convicted, was calm until deputies restrained and handcuffed him. He cut both deputies with a file from a pair of nail clippers and was zapped twice with a Taser, according to police reports. Deputies also used pepper spray.

"Law enforcement officers are trained to take command of a situation and the people involved in those situations, but the training methods they are taught are completely counter-productive to dealing or communicating with an autistic person," said Maxson's attorney, Michael Dungan.


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